A demonstration planned for Saturday in Amsterdam against coronavirus curbs was cancelled after  night riots in Rotterdam against a partial lockdown injured seven people and saw police firing warning shots.

Several dozen people were arrested in the protests against government moves to restrict access to certain sites for unvaccinated people and impose other restrictions. A police car and several electric scooters were torched and fires set off.

“Last night, all hell broke loose in Rotterdam,”  United We Stand Europe, which had called Saturday’s protest, said on Facebook.

Chaos broke out in the centre of the port city on Friday night. Rotterdam mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb denounced an “orgy of violence”, adding: “The police have felt the need to draw a police weapon in the end to defend themselves.”

Keeping the demonstration in Amsterdam “didn’t feel right”, United We Stand Europe said, lamenting the injuries to two protesters, which had also been reported in Dutch media.

“The riots and extreme violence against police, riot police and firefighters last night in Rotterdam are horrifying,” Dutch Security and Justice Minister Ferd Grapperhaus said on Saturday, deploring the “considerable” destruction.

“The men and women who take to the streets every day for our safety have been pelted with stones and fireworks,” he said, referring to the police.

“The police and the public prosecutor’s office are doing their utmost to track down, prosecute and punish these rioters,” he said.

“After major disruptions yesterday… order is now being restored. There is a lot of damage, people have been injured and people have been detained,” the local police said on Twitter on Saturday.

“At the moment the full picture is being drawn up. The investigation into the rioters is starting,” it said.

A planned protest in the southern city of Breda on Saturday is still on, according to local media.

Police quashed rumours on social media that someone died during the violence in Rotterdam.

“Both from our side and from the National Criminal Investigation Department, this has not been reported,” the Rotterdam police stressed.   jcp/pbr/ach


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