Dutch police open fire on anti-lockdown rioters as protest turns violent

Two people have been wounded after Dutch police opened fire on people rioting against new lockdown restrictions.

Crowds of demonstrators torched cars and threw rocks at officers in the centre of Rotterdam on Friday, who responded with shots and water cannon.

‘We fired warning shots and there were also direct shots fired because the situation was life-threatening,’ police spokesperson Patricia Wessels said.

Photos show ugly scenes with at least one police car on fire and another with a bike smashed through the windscreen.

Police said that rioters started fires and threw fireworks, forcing the closure of the city’s main railway station.

Seven people were injured in total and at least 20 arrested after what Rotterdam’s mayor described as ‘an orgy of violence’.

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The city was placed under a state of emergency with reports on social media saying local football hooligans joined in on the chaos.

The situation had calmed later on the evening, after police brought in units from around the country to ‘restore order’.

Officers in riot gear carrying shields and batons were directing people away from the area while others on horseback patrolled the streets

It comes amid rising anger at coronavirus measures across Europe, with Austria making vaccines mandatory and introducing a full lockdown from Monday, and Germany considering following in its lead.



The Netherlands imposed fresh restrictions last Saturday after recording its highest numbers of Covid cases since the start of the pandemic.

The new rules mean restaurants and shops have to close earlier, and sports events must take place behind closed doors.

Earlier on Friday the government banned fireworks on New Years Eve for the second year in a row. It is intended to ‘prevent, as much as possible, extra strain on health care, law enforcement and first responders,’ the government said.

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