At least seven people were hurt in Rotterdam when a protest against COVID-19 restrictions turned into “an orgy of violence.”
The city has been rocked by rioting and demonstrations against the reintroduction of coronavirus restrictions amid record-high infection rates.
“On a number of occasions, the police felt it necessary to draw their weapons to defend themselves,” Rotterdam mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb told the Associated Press of Saturday’s violence. “They shot at protesters, people were injured.”
The mayor also noted a number of police officers and firefighters had also been hurt in the mayhem, and dozens had been arrested.
Despite more than 70% of the country being fully vaccinated, The Netherlands has seen a spike in coronavirus cases and reinstated a partial lockdown last week.
Police were also forced to use water cannons to restore order. Photos showed at least one police car in flames.
“The riots and extreme violence against police officers, riot police and firefighters last night in Rotterdam are disgusting to see,” Dutch Justice Minister Ferd Grapperhaus told the wire service. “Protesting is a great right in our society, but what we saw last night is simply criminal behavior. It has nothing to do with demonstrating.”