Thousands of people rally to oppose Dutch virus measures despite ban
Thousands of people in the Netherlands defied an assembly ban and demonstrated on Sunday against the Dutch government’s coronavirus lockdown measures, gathering in a central plaza before marching to a park in Amsterdam.
A small group of protesters briefly clashed with riot police as police struggled to clear the crowd from Museum Square on the orders of Amsterdam Mayor Femke Halsema. Journalists at the scene saw at least one person arrested.
The local government had banned the protest, saying police had indications that some protesters might intend to attend “prepared for violence”. The municipality then issued an emergency order for people to leave the square, and riot police stepped on the grass to clear the area, sending protesters to nearby streets.
Before the police moved in, some participants unfurled a banner that read “Less repression, more care” near the Van Gogh Museum. A group of people in white overalls and white masks held up signs, including one that read: “This is not a virus, this is control” on one side and “Freedom” on the one hand. ‘other. A person walked through the crowd with a “Trump 2024” flag.
There was a strong police presence in the square and in the surrounding streets. The municipality has designated the area as a security risk area, giving the police the power to search people as a preventive measure.
After marching through the city, protesters began to gather in a park in western Amsterdam for a rally of the populist Forum for Democracy party.
The demonstration took place on the same day that Dutch police announced they would take action to protest the growing demands on their work. Union representatives said riot police would continue to work if necessary.
Coronavirus infection rates have been steadily declining for weeks in the Netherlands, which reintroduced lockdown measures in November and tightened them further during the holiday season.
The 7-day moving average of daily new cases edged down over the past week to 85.55 new cases per 100,000 people, even as the omicron mutation became the dominant variant in the country.
Under the lockdown, all non-essential stores are closed, along with bars, restaurants and places such as museums, theaters and cinemas.
In November, a protest against the coronavirus erupted in violent riots in Rotterdam and protests in Museum Square ended with clashes between police and protesters who ignored orders to leave the area.