Europe

Dutch police clash with rioters in a second night of violence

Police used water cannon against anti-curfew protesters in several Dutch cities as a second night of riots against coronavirus restrictions began on Monday.

Officers were deployed across the country to prevent a repeat of the previous night’s unrest, which coincided with the first weekend of a new national coronavirus curfew between 9pm and 4.30am.

The mayor of the port city of Rotterdam issued an emergency order instructing people in the town centre to leave the area as officers clashed with groups of protesters.

Several shops were looted in the south of the city, the Dutch national broadcaster NOS said.

There were also reports of violence and multiple arrests in the southern town of Geleen, near Maastricht, and in Zwolle in the northeast.

Government officials sought to draw a distinction between the rioters and those who believed the curfew an infringement of their civil liberties.

Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte branded the violence “unacceptable”, adding: “This has nothing to do with protesting, this is criminal violence and that’s how we’ll treat it.”

There were clashes in at least 10 towns and cities across the Netherlands on Sunday night.

One of the worst hit was Eindhoven, where a car was torched as rioters threw rocks and fireworks at officers.

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Police detained 62 suspects in the city overnight.

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