Rutte says the police and the judiciary will do everything in their power to track down the perpetrators who, according to the PM, had nothing to do with demonstration.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has criticized three nights of riots over anti-COVID measures, calling the unrest “pure violence” by “idiots” and promising to prosecute those responsible.
The riots in several cities across the country since Friday have been “violence under the guise of protests”, the prime minister said. He added he would always defend the right to protest, but “I will never accept that idiots use pure violence against people … who keep this country safe,” he told Dutch media.
According to Rutte, the police and the judiciary will do everything in their power to track down the perpetrators of the riots, which according to the prime minister “had nothing to do with demonstration”.
Police fired shots in Rotterdam and about 145 people were arrested across the Netherlands over three days of unrest caused by COVID restrictions. “People want to live,” said one of the organizers of the Dutch protests, Joost Eras. “That’s why we’re here.”
Although it was not the first, it was one of the worst outbreaks of violence in the Netherlands since COVID restrictions were first introduced last year.
In January, rioters attacked police and set fires on the streets of Rotterdam after a curfew came into effect.
The country is more than a week in the west Europe’s first partial closure this winter.
Austria on Monday imposed the most dramatic COVID restrictions seen in Western Europe in months a complete restriction.
Austria is also launching a comprehensive vaccine mandate from 1 February, one of the few countries in the world to have announced such a move so far.
A crowd of 40,000 marched through Vienna on Saturday, condemning “dictatorship” while some 6,000 people protested in the city of Linz on Sunday.
Vienna’s rally was organized by a far-right political party, and some protesters wore a yellow star that read “not vaccinated,” mimicking the Star of David that forced Nazis to carry Jews during the Holocaust.
Dr Michael Ryan, the World Health Organization’s head of emergencies, said: “Honestly, some countries are now in such a difficult situation that they will find it difficult not to impose restrictive measures, at least for a short period of time. of time, to reduce the intensity of transmission. ”