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This photograph taken on November 19, 2021 shows police cars during a protest against the partial lockdown and against the 2G government policy in Rotterdam. — AFP pic
This photograph taken on November 19, 2021 shows police cars during a protest against the partial lockdown and against the 2G government policy in Rotterdam. — AFP pic

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THE HAGUE, Nov 20 — The mayor of Rotterdam today condemned “an orgy of violence” at protests against Covid-19 measures in the Dutch port city, in which seven people were wounded and more than 20 arrested.

Crowds of several hundred rioters torched cars, set off fireworks and threw rocks at police during the protests yesterday evening. Police responded with warning shots and water cannons.

“Police were forced to draw their weapons and even fire direct shots,” Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb told a press conference early today.

Asked to characterize the event, Aboutaleb said 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.

Protestors 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 have already recovered from an infection.

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

The Netherlands re-imposed some lockdown measures last weekend for an initial three weeks in an effort to slow a resurgence of coronavirus contagion, but daily infections have remained at their highest levels since the start of the pandemic.

Authorities reported a record of more than 23,000 new cases on Thursday, well above the previous daily high of 13,000 reached in December 2020. — Reuters


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