Teens riot against curfew in Dutch village; burn down COVID-19 testing site
A police officer takes images of a torched coronavirus testing facility in the Dutch fishing village of Urk, Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021, after it was torched Saturday night by rioting youths protesting on the first night of a nation-wide curfew. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
Peter Dejong, The Associated Press
Published Sunday, January 24, 2021 8:01AM EST
Last Updated Sunday, January 24, 2021 10:54AM EST
URK, Netherlands -- Dutch police clashed with protesters demonstrating against the country's lockdown in the capital, Amsterdam and the southern city of Eindhoven on Sunday, a day after rioting youths protesting the country's curfew torched a coronavirus testing facility in a Dutch fishing village.
In Amsterdam, police used a water cannon to disperse protesters taking part in a banned demonstration on a major square ringed by museums. Video images showed the water cannon spraying people grouped against a wall of the Van Gogh Museum.
Police in Eindhoven used a water cannon and tear gas against a crowd of hundreds of demonstrators that also included supporters of the anti-immigrant group PEGIDA.
Eindhoven police said they made at least 30 arrests by late afternoon and warned people to stay away from the city centre amid the clashes.
There were no immediate reports of injuries.
It was the second Sunday in a row that police clashed with protesters in Amsterdam angry at the country's lockdown amid.
The unrest followed a night of rioting in the fishing village of Urk on the first night of a curfew imposed by the Dutch government to rein in the spread of the more transmissible variant of the coronavirus.
Police said Sunday they fined more than 3,600 people nationwide for breaching the curfew that ran from 9 p.m. Saturday until 4:30 a.m. Sunday and arrested 25 people for breaching the curfew or for violence.
Video from Urk, 80 kilometres (50 miles) northeast of Amsterdam, showed youths breaking into the coronavirus testing facility near the village's harbour before it was set ablaze Saturday night.
The police and municipality issued a statement Sunday expressing their anger at rioting, “from throwing fireworks and stones to destroying police cars and with the torching of the test location as a deep point.”
“This is not only unacceptable, but also a slap in the face, especially for the local health authority staff who do all they can at the test centre to help people from Urk,” the local authorities said, adding that the curfew would be strictly enforced for the rest of the week.
On Sunday, all that remained of the portable building used to administer coronavirus tests was a burned-out shell.