The Netherlands entered into its third day of anti-curfew riots, as protestors stormed through the Dutch country, setting fire to buildings and looting supermarkets.
“Take as much fireworks, gasoline and everything else with you and let all your friends know that we are going to destroy this curfew!” read a Telegram invitation, in an online group used by protestors to organise riots.
The protests against the curfew, the second since the Nazi occupation in the second World War, quickly turned violent as rioters demanded a reversal of the 9 pm.-4.30 am curfew, introduced the week before.
“This has nothing to do with protest, this is criminal violence and we will treat it as such,” said Prime Minister Mark Rutte.
Amid the fast acting UK strain of the virus along with several new variants, the Dutch government imposed stringent measures to curb its spread, although health officials state even strict measures require imposition.
In several cities, The Hague, Tilburg, Enschede, Venlo, Roermond, Amsterdam and Rotterdam among others, protestors used fireworks, looted and destroyed stores and attacked policemen with stones. In a fishing town called Urk, mainly young rioters set a coronavirus testing facility, owned by the government, on fire.
Police officials made several arrests across the country but especially in Rotterdam, where 81 arrests took place. In total, around 200 people were arrested for rioting.
Currently, several citizens have been been working to alleviate the damage caused by the rioting. Local residents have launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for the reconstruction of the torched testing facility in Urk.
A team leader of RADAR, a non-profit-organization based on anti-discrimination, said that it was unclear what the protests were based on and who they were run by, said DW.
“It is a very diverse group. They do it for diverse reasons — partly because of a feeling of exclusion from society, but also maybe because they are simply bored … then it is maybe fun to fight with the police.”