Third night of anti-lockdown riots sweep cities in the Netherlands

26 January 2021, 10:49 | Updated: 26 January 2021, 10:56

Police detain a protester in the Netherlands during the lockdown unrest
Police detain a protester in the Netherlands during the lockdown unrest. Picture: Getty

By Harriet Whitehead

The Netherlands experienced another night of rioting last night as violent protesters continued to oppose a coronavirus curfew.

The 9pm curfew and tough lockdown measures had initially been challenged by protesters, but descended into vandalism after crowds were riled up by messages on social media.

Rioters confronted police in several Dutch cities for the third night running, throwing fireworks and vandalising areas across the country.

Police in the port city of Rotterdam used a water cannon and tear gas in an attempt to disperse a crowd of rioters, and Rotterdam police said people took to the streets "seeking a confrontation with police".

The city's mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb has issued an emergency decree which gives police broader powers of arrest.

More than 100 arrests have been made across the country and police have warned people to stay away from areas of unrest.

Police in the southern town of Goes and the North Holland province said they detained people on suspicion of using social media to call for rioting.

"It is unacceptable," Prime Minister Mark Rutte said of rioting over the weekend. "This has nothing to do with protesting, this is criminal violence and that's how we'll treat it."

One of the worst hit cities is the southern city of Eindhoven, where police clashed with hundreds of rioters who torched a car, threw rocks and fireworks at officers, smashed windows and looted.

"My city is crying, and so am I," Eindhoven Mayor John Jorritsma told media on Sunday night. In a press conference, he called the rioters "the scum of the earth" adding: "I am afraid that if we continue down this path, we're on our way to civil war."

Johns Hopkins report that there have been 966,194 confirmed cases and 13,686 deaths in the country.