Tuesday 26 January 2021 10:36 am

Riots erupt in Netherlands as lockdown protesters rage for third night

Dutch police arrested hundreds of people across the country last night in a third evening of unrest triggered by a new night-time curfew.

Groups of rioters set fires, threw rocks, and looted stores in violence generated by government-imposed restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of coronavirus.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte has condemned demonstrators, who burned down a Covid-19 testing station in the sleepy fishing village of Urk.

‘Worst violence in 40 years’

Ten police were injured in Rotterdam, where 60 rioters were detained overnight, while two photographers were hurt in Amsterdam after rocks were hurled at them by protesters.

Water cannons were used against looters in Rotterdam and Haarlem in a bid to disperse crowds.

In the east of the capital, at least nine people were arrested after clashes with riot police as store windows were smashed and police vans were attacked, witnesses claim.

Police union board member Koen Simmers told Dutch television programme Nieuwsuur: “We haven’t seen so much violence in 40 years.”

British variant sparks tougher restrictions

The nation’s first curfew since World War Two was imposed after a stark warning over a new wave of infections caused by the British variant of Covid-19.

The rules were passed despite weeks of declines in new infections, falling to less than 5,000 on Sunday.

Schools and non-essential shops have been shut since mid-December in the Netherlands, a country whose death toll stands at 13,579.

Read more: Dutch anti-lockdown protests turn violent after new curfew