Rotterdam riots over COVID restrictions

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) – Police fired warning shots and injured an unknown number of people as riots broke out in central Rotterdam on Friday night during a protest against the government’s plans to restrict access to some places. people not vaccinated against COVID-19.

Police said in a tweet that “there are injuries in connection with the shooting” during the violent riots. Riot control officers used a water cannon in an attempt to dislodge hundreds of protesters from a downtown street in the port city.

The Dutch press released images showing at least one police vehicle on fire and another with a bicycle embedded in the windshield.

Police said in a tweet that rioters started fires and set off fireworks during the riots, and that authorities closed the city’s main railway station. He also noted that gangs of violent soccer fans participated in the riots.

The government has said it wants to push through a law that would allow businesses to give access with the country’s health pass system only to people fully vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19, which would exclude those who test negative in diagnostic tests.

In recent days the country has registered a chain of record infections and a new partial confinement was ordered a week ago.

Riots broke out in Rotterdam and other Dutch cities in January after the government announced a curfew in an attempt to contain the increase in coronavirus infections.

Hours earlier on Friday, the government banned the use of fireworks on December 31 for the second year in a row. The measure is intended to “prevent, as much as possible, additional pressure on the health system, the police and the emergency services,” the government said on Friday.

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