COVID Riots in Amsterdam

Lauren Donovan

The world has been afflicted with the COVID-19 pandemic on varying degrees, but all nonetheless have put us all in great fear of our health and safety. We’ve all responded differently in terms of actions taken to prevent the sickness from seeping too deep into our societies, others have been stricken, with danger of the virus being around every corner. While everyone is malcontent with the pandemic, others are utterly outraged with the given circumstances, more specifically, the Dutch have rebelled against the in-place curfew the Prime Minister has put in place in order to combat the pandemic in the later hours of the night.

On Monday night, January 25th, Dutch rioters mainly gathered in Amsterdam and Eindhoven, in addition to other smaller gatherings in towns and cities, to protest the coronavirus curfew, a curfew that restricted individuals to their homes to combat the spread of the virus that was introduced on Saturday. These riots resulted in catastrophic scenes. Rioters attacked police, set cars ablaze, threw fireworks, looted grocery stores, smashed store and hospital windows, and other forms of vandalism and violence. This unrest continued during the curfew hours of 9:30 pm to 4:30 am for two nights until police had no choice but to control the situation. As protestors threw fireworks and golf balls at police, they fought to stop the violence in the tracks. As a final resort, in full riot gear, police unleashed tear gas and a water cannon. Of the two days, Sunday was considered the absolute worst as police in Eindhoven were harmed by protesters throwing rocks and fireworks at them as well as vandalizing the area. Many Dutch officials are stating, such as Hubert Bruls, the mayor of Nijmegen, “These demonstrations are being hijacked by people who only want one thing and that is to riot…”
In the aftermath of the riots, the Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte shared his condemnation of the events of Saturday and Sunday, labelling it no longer a protest, but instead as criminal violence, and such violence would not be tolerated. In light of what occurred, 200 protestors have been detained as well as more information came about as to what occurred in other locations in the Netherlands. Some examples of what occurred included a group of youths in a fishing village lighting a testing facility for Covid-19 ablaze and two cities going so berzerk that military police were called to the scenes. On the Monday that Mark Rutte made his statement on the situation, citizens volunteered to clean the riot areas. With such anarchy over a newly implemented curfew, a night curfew that has not been implemented since World War II, one would think their coronavirus numbers would be incomprehensible. And by looking at the numbers, the nation has shown to have had 13,600 coronavirus deaths and 962,000 confirmed cases. Due to these high numbers, the Dutch government intends to maintain the night curfew in addition to one new implementation of a fine of roughly $115 for curfew violations.

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