At least seven people were injured last night during the violent protest in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, against restrictions due to the outbreak of Covid-19, which included attacks on the police and the harsh response of the uniformed.
According to local press reports, in addition to the two people injured after warning shots fired by the police, five other people were injured.
The British BBC network reports that at least 20 people were detained during a night that the mayor of the city, Ahmed Aboutaleb, defined as “an orgy of violence”.
Aboutaleb told reporters early Saturday that “on several occasions police felt the need to draw their weapons to defend themselves” as rioters rampaged through the business district, starting fires and smashing street furniture, and even windows and cars.
“They shot the protesters. People were injured,” Aboutaleb admitted.
Several officers were injured in the violence. Police hoped to arrest more people after studying video footage from security cameras.
Photos from the local press showed at least one police car on fire and another with a bicycle embedded in the windshield. Police said city authorities had closed the city’s main train station.
The onslaught of riot police and the use of water cannons quelled the riots after midnight.
The restoration of the partial closure before the advances of the infections last Saturday unleashed the protest of hundreds of people who concentrated in the center of Rotterdam.
Many of them, shouting “freedom”, “freedom”, lit fireworks and threw them at the police, along with other blunt objects.
Faced with the events in Rotterdam, a demonstration against health measures scheduled for today in Amsterdam was canceled, the organization announced on Facebook.
“All hell broke loose in Rotterdam last night,” holding the demonstration in Amsterdam “did not seem right,” United We Stand Europe said, denouncing the injuries of two protesters.
The Dutch justice minister, Ferd Grapperhaus, condemned the events. “It is disgusting to see the unrest and extreme violence against police officers, riot police and firefighters last night in Rotterdam,” he said in a statement.
“Protesting is a great right in our society, but what we saw last night is simply criminal behavior. It has nothing to do with the demonstration,” he said.
According to The Guardian, an independent investigation has been opened into the shootings by the police, as is the case every time officers use their weapons.
The local political party Leefbaar Rotterdam condemned the violence.
“The center of our beautiful city has been transformed tonight into a war zone,” he said on Twitter. “Rotterdam is a city where you can disagree with things that happen, but violence is never, never the solution,” the message completed.
The mobilizations are in response to the new measures announced by the Dutch government to face a resurgence of the epidemic. Yesterday 23,591 new cases and 34 deaths from the coronavirus were registered in the country.