Rotterdam mayor slams violent COVID-19 protests


The mayor of Rotterdam condemned an act of violence on protests against COVID-19 measures in the Dutch port city, in which seven people were wounded and more than 20 arrested.

Crowds of rioters torched cars and threw rocks at police who responded with shots and water canon, as protests against COVID-19 measures turned violent in the port city of Rotterdam.

According to Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb, “Police were forced to draw their weapons and even fire direct shots.

“It was an orgy of violence, I can’t think of another way to describe it.”

Authorities said, they had arrested more than 20 people and expected to detain others, as the city centre where the riots took place is extensively monitored by security cameras.

“We fired warning shots and there were also direct shots fired because the situation was life-threatening,” police spokesman Patricia Wessels said.

“We know that at least two people were wounded, probably as a result of the warning shots, but we need to investigate the exact causes further,” she added.

Several hundred people had gathered to voice opposition to government plans to restrict access to indoor venues to people who have a corona pass, showing they have been vaccinated or already recovered from an infection.

The pass is also available to people who have not been vaccinated, but have proof of a negative test.

Police issued an emergency ordinance in Rotterdam, shutting down public transportation and ordering people to go home.

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