Dutch Police Use Water Cannon to Disperse Anti-lockdown Protestors

Published January 18th, 2021 - 08:46 GMT
Hundreds of protestors not wearing face masks clash with Dutch riot police at an illegal protest against the Netherlands' new lockdown measures in Museumplein today. (AFP)
Hundreds of protestors not wearing face masks clash with Dutch riot police at an illegal protest against the Netherlands' new lockdown measures in Museumplein today. (AFP)
Highlights
Violent scenes erupted between the protestors who refused to wear face masks and riot police in the city .

Dutch police turned a water cannon on hundreds of anti-lockdown protestors who were taking part in a banned protest against the Dutch government and its tough coronavirus lockdown.

Police on horseback also moved in to break up the demonstration on a large square ringed by museums, including the Van Gogh Museum and Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.

Amsterdam municipality said riot police took action to disperse the crowd because people weren't adhering to social distancing measures.

Few of the protestors wore masks, which are not mandatory, and most did not respect social distancing rules.

The municipality said: 'Because of the danger to public health, it is important that everybody sticks to the measures in force. The demonstrators are not doing that.'

By mid-afternoon, the square was empty apart from dozens of police, although some protesters remained in streets nearby.

The demonstration had been banned earlier in the week because of fears that too many people would attend and not stick to social distancing.

The protest in Amsterdam happened as ministers in the Netherlands' caretaker government were meeting in The Hague to discuss options to rein in the spread of the coronavirus, including the possibility of imposing a curfew for the first time since the pandemic began.

The government resigned Friday following publication of a damning report into a scandal involving thousands of parents being falsely labeled fraudsters by tax officials, but the ministers are remaining in power until a new coalition is formed following a March 17 general election.

The government closed schools and most shops in December to try to stem a surge in Covid-19 cases and this week extended the lockdown by at least three more weeks.


In the early days of the pandemic, the Netherlands was generally more reluctant than most of its neighbours to impose social restrictions. 

But during the second wave of infections in winter it has found its hand forced by the rapid spread of infections and growing pressure on its hospitals.

This article has been adapted from its original source.


© Associated Newspapers Ltd.

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