Rioting youths protesting on the first night of a Dutch curfew torched a coronavirus testing facility and threw fireworks at police in a Dutch fishing village. More riots followed just hours later.
Police said Sunday they fined more than 3,600 people nationwide for breaching the curfew that ran from 9 p.m. Saturday until 4:30 a.m. Sunday and arrested 25 people for breaching the curfew or for violence.
Video from the village of Urk, 80 kilometers (50 miles) northeast of Amsterdam, showed youths breaking into the coronavirus testing facility near the village’s harbor before it was set ablaze Saturday night.
The police and municipality issued a statement Sunday expressing their anger at rioting, “from throwing fireworks and stones to destroying police cars and with the torching of the test location as a deep point.”
“This is not only unacceptable, but also a slap in the face, especially for the local health authority staff who do all they can at the test center to help people from Urk,” the local authorities said, adding that the curfew would be strictly enforced for the rest of the week.
On Sunday, all that remained of the portable building used to administer coronavirus tests was a burned-out shell.
Police in Amsterdam also were bracing for another protest Sunday, sending officers to a square where demonstrators clashed with police a week ago. The city’s municipality designated the square a “risk area,” a move that gave police extra powers to frisk people.
Then rioters set fires in the center of the southern Dutch city of Eindhoven and pelted police with rocks Sunday at a banned demonstration against coronavirus lockdown measures, while officers responded with tear gas and water cannons, arresting at least 55 people.
Police in the capital of Amsterdam also used a water cannon to disperse an outlawed anti-lockdown demonstration on a major square ringed by museums. Video showed police spraying people grouped against a wall of the Van Gogh Museum.
It was the worst violence to hit the Netherlands since the pandemic began and the second straight Sunday that police clashed with protesters in Amsterdam.
The country has been in a tough lockdown since mid-December that is due to continue at least until Feb. 9. The government beefed up the lockdown with a 9 p.m. to 4:30 a.m. curfew that went into force on Saturday.
(The Yeshiva World / AP)