Seven people were injured on Friday night in riots at a rally against restrictions to contain the covid-19 pandemic in Rotterdam, Netherlands, after police opened fire, international agencies reported.
Rotterdam Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb said Saturday that “on several occasions the police felt it was necessary to use their weapons to defend themselves” as protesters set fires and hurled stones in what he called an “orgy of violence “.
“They [os polícias] fired on protesters, people were injured,” Aboutaleb said, not specifying the injuries, and security forces also fired warning shots.
According to Ahmed Aboutaleb, several police officers were also injured and dozens of people were arrested, it is expected that more will be so, after being analyzed images from the security cameras.
Photographs of the location show at least one police car on fire.
Order was restored with the intervention of riot police and a water cannon.
This was one of the most serious cases of violence in the Netherlands since restrictions to fight the new coronavirus were first imposed in the country last year.
Last January, protesters also attacked police and started fires in the streets of Rotterdam, when a curfew was imposed.
Justice Minister Ferd Grapperhaus condemned the situation, noting that “the riots and extreme violence against police and firefighters last night in Rotterdam are disgusting to behold”.
“Protesting is a great right in our society, but what we saw last night is simply criminal behavior,” the government official noted.
Police units across the country had to flock to the port city to control the riots, with local media reporting that ‘hooligans’ were involved.
An independent investigation was opened.
On the social network Facebook, the organization “United We Stand Europe” claims that “yesterday [sexta-feira] at night, hell broke out in Rotterdam”, referring to the chaos unleashed in the city center, and announced that the demonstration scheduled for today in Amsterdam has been cancelled.
Protesters were protesting against the Dutch government’s restrictions and plan to restrict access to certain places for unvaccinated people.
This European country has registered a record number of infections in recent days, leading to partial confinement a week ago.