Police use water cannon to break up anti-Covid rules protest in Amsterdam
The police intervened in a demonstration against coronavirus restrictions and the possibility of a curfew on the Museumplein in Amsterdam on Sunday afternoon. A water cannon was used against the protestors as riot police mobilized to force attendees out of the area.
Na diverse oproepen naar de demonstranten op het #Museumplein om zich te verwijderen is— Robby Hiel (@PersburoUNN) January 17, 2021
en de #ME toch maar overgegaan tot het schoonvegen van het terrein. #Coronamaatregelen #Demo #Viruswaanzin pic.twitter.com/FpWEOOx06r
"Despite the many warnings from the municipality, and the police, and the emergency order declaration, the protesters on the Museumplein were not dispersing," the city said in a statement. Water cannons were used after multiple warnings to break up the demonstration, which the city claimed was a threat to public health as those present were not adhering to social distance restrictions.
The demonstration under the banner “never again a Rutte cabinet” was canceled because the organizer objected to the city assigning Westerpark as the only allowable location, with a maximum of 500 people allowed. Organizer Michel Reijinga filed suit against the city, and then the event was cancelled with Reijinga saying he bought many would show up in Amsterdam anyway.
Thousands responded on Facebook that they planned to protest on Museumplein, and the city issued numerous warnings on multiple social media platforms telling demonstrators not to come. Well over a thousand people showed up, some alleging that Covid-19 is a hoax or that vaccination against the infection is unsafe.
Many at the protest said it was hypocritical that the city would not allow the event after permitting an anti-fascism protest in Westerpark a week ago. "Corona-deniers on Museumplein are lying about double standards. Last week's demo against fascism was allowed because we complied with the restriction to demonstrate in Westerpark even though we disagreed with that limitation," said city council member Jazie Veldhuyzen.
"We made that choice in solidarity with at-risk groups and healthcare workers," the BIJ1 politician continued. "The people who are now on Museumplein were warned not to come and are not taking coronavirus rules into account."
Veldhuyzen alleged that people at the demonstration also put their arms out like a Nazi salute, and that they threw bricks and fireworks at the police.
Foute boel. pic.twitter.com/9lN4p8bDwf— Irma van der Meer (@meer_irma) January 17, 2021