Clashes with police after protest against Covid restrictions; Covid-19 death toll at 6,090
One more patient with Covid-19 died on Friday, and three more people were hospitalized at the end of the week, public health agency RIVM said on Sunday. To date, 6,090 have died from the coronavirus disease, and 11,849 patients from the Netherlands have been hospitalized.
The RIVM also said 98 more people tested positive for a SARS-CoV-2 infection, which causes Covid-19. Some 49,593 infections have been uncovered in the Netherlands since testing began.
Fighting with police in The Hague
Meanwhile, clashes between demonstrators and police happened at the central station in The Hague on Sunday afternoon. It happened after several thousand people showed up for a protest against Dutch measures aimed at slowing the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus on Sunday. The protest was allowed to continue without police intervention even though Hague Mayor Johan Remkes had initially forbidden the Virus Madness event, which was expected to be more like a festival than a demonstration.
"This has nothing to do with a normal demonstration," police said of the incidents outside the train station.
ME ging op de vlucht voor honderden supporters en demonstranten. pic.twitter.com/LVufTMk5Cd— Bob van Keulen (@BobHGL) June 21, 2020
Gaat mis in Den Haag pic.twitter.com/AqDQepIbBB— Bob van Keulen (@BobHGL) June 21, 2020
The Malieveld, a popular demonstration site in the city, filled up rather quickly on Sunday afternoon. It began with a small sit-in protest just after noon, and grew from there. Some in the crowd were holding up signs that read "Kill Bill", referring to an internet conspiracy theory that Microsoft founder Bill Gates is linked to the outbreak of the virus. Others were demanding an "end to the lockdown," and that their freedom be restored. Still others were protesting in favor of allowing the elderly to receive more visitors at care homes.
While the event was peaceful, local police issued a warning at about 1:30 p.m. after supporters of various football clubs began arriving on scene. "We see that the number of demonstrators is increasing and the atmosphere is changing," police said. "We are calling on people to stay away from the Malieveld."
Shortly after, police closed a centrally-located shopping area and blocked off access to prevent protestors from entering the city center. Despite the warning, reporters from NOS and the Telegraaf on scene said the event grounds were relatively relaxed.
Nevertheless, by 2:30 p.m., police had sent officers in riot gear towards the city's central train station where it said hardcore football supporters were congregated. Around that time, the Telegraaf reported that the Binnenhof parliamentary complex was cordoned off by authorities, and several hundred people began leaving the Malieveld.
Malieveld om 13.33. Het loopt vol pic.twitter.com/0QoSuJMgMs— Jan (@DerdeJantje) June 21, 2020