Violence erupts during lockdown protests


(CNN) — Protests in European countries against the new covid-19 restrictions turned violent over the weekend as cases continue to rise on the continent.

Riots broke out in The Hague on Saturday over new coronavirus measures from the Netherlands government. A video shows riot police deploying water cannons and confronting groups of protesters.

The Netherlands reimposed three weeks of partial confinement last Saturday and now plans to ban unvaccinated people from entering some places.

Five policemen were injured during the clashes in The Hague. One was taken to hospital with a concussion and two suffered hearing damage from loud fireworks, police said in a statement.

“The group started fires, committed destruction, attacked motorists and threw stones and heavy fireworks at officers,” police said. He also confirmed that 19 arrests were made.

They added that a protester threw a stone through the window of an ambulance transporting a patient to a hospital.

Thousands of protesters attended a largely peaceful march in the capital Amsterdam on Saturday. The Dutch public broadcaster NOS also reported unrest in the city of Urk and cities in the southern province of Limburg. The protests follow violent clashes on Friday night in the port city of Rotterdam, during which police were forced to fire to disperse the crowd and 51 people were arrested.

Protest in Austria

On the other hand, an estimated 40,000 people filled the streets of Vienna, Austria, on Saturday in the country’s largest coronavirus-related protest to date. Police tried to stop the protest and when “spirits were about to rise,” they stopped fining those who did not wear masks, Franz Eigner, vice president of the Vienna police, said during a press conference on Sunday.

Protesters opposed to the lockdown hold torches in Vienna, Austria, on Saturday.

Some police officers had been sprayed with “unidentified liquid” and protesters were attempting to blind a helicopter with a laser, Eigner said.

A small number of protesters were “extremely prone to violence,” Austrian Interior Minister Karl Nehammer said during the press conference, which he associated with the “far-right scene.”

Austria returned to a nationwide lockdown on Monday and will be the first country in Europe to make coronavirus vaccinations mandatory, starting in February next year.

More than 1,400 officers were deployed across the country to maintain public order, according to a police statement. Pepper spray was used in a “heated” protest in central Vienna, the police statement added.

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Other European countries and their territories

Meanwhile, France sent dozens of elite police and counterterrorism agents to the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe on Saturday after looting and arson overnight in defiance of the night curfew.

The island’s prefect introduced the confinement order on Friday after protests against the vaccination passport ended in violence the night before. The Interior Ministry said 31 people had been arrested.

And around 15,000 people protested in Zagreb on Saturday against the Croatian government’s coronavirus measures. As of this Monday, only people with a Covid passport can enter government and public buildings in Croatia.


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