Video: Covid protestors fight with police in The Hague; 1 cop hurt
Police in The Hague said they arrested several people at a protest against the Dutch coronavirus rules after they were attacked by demonstrators. One officer was injured in the incident, police confirmed in a statement. Separately, four more suspects were interrogated in connection with violence at a June anti-coronavirus measures rally also in The Hague.
It was not clear what led to the confrontations between protestors and police at around 2 p.m on Thursday. "We have acted because several protesters behaved provocatively and aggressively towards the police," police said.
Vechten met ME in de Poten. pic.twitter.com/wuJMmmbvyK— Bob van Keulen (@BobHGL) August 20, 2020
Eldor van Feggelen of Viruswaanzin, or "Virus Truth" in English, said, "I have no idea what exactly happened or why there were arrests." He told broadcaster RTL Nieuws they had permission for the demonstration.
Videos from the scene showed police striking people with batons after the officers were kicked and pushed, but also striking and shoving others who stood still refusing to leave the protest site. "We are still present in the center of The Hague to restore peace and quiet," police stated.
The demonstration was being held at Plein, a square near the Parliamentary complex. As many as 200 people were in attendance, according to local broadcaster Omroep West. Several government buildings were closed to the public due to the protests.
ik zou willen dat ze zo voortvarend mochten optreden in de Schilderswijk.....Deze dames steken niets in de fik en vernielen niets, maar alleen opkomen voor je vrijheden is reden genoeg om in het gezicht te worden geslagen.#DenHaag#noodwet pic.twitter.com/gsVj5zWDsH— Eliza (@LithJeude) August 20, 2020
Protesters were shouting a variety of slogans, including "Children's lives matter", "Down with the emergency law", and "We are the Netherlands."
Tactical units were brought in to stop some demonstrators from marching to the lower house of Dutch Parliament, while other officers worked to evacuate Plein altogether.
Korte confrontatie net tussen politie en demonstranten bij de hofvijver pic.twitter.com/5IITBbgWqA— Sander K. (@sanderknura) August 20, 2020
Four more held in earlier violence
Earlier on Thursday, police announced they had detained four more men in connection with a different protest against the coronavirus rules. Rioting broke out after a demonstration on the Malieveld in The Hague on June 21, with Prime Minister Mark Rutte blaming the trouble on "coked-up hooligans".
About 425 people were arrested in the aftermath, and 29 more were taken into custody after an investigation into the riot. The four new detainees all voluntarily reported to the police station, were interrogated, and eventually released.
It included a 31-year-old from The Hague, and a 53-year-old from Den Hoorn, Groningen, who were questioned on Wednesday. A Naaldwijk man, 40, was also questioned on August 15, ad was a 20-year-old from Rotterdam on August 6.
Police will turn over their case files to the Public Prosecution Service to determine who will be criminally prosecuted. None of the suspects were still in custody on Thursday.