Some 250 arrested in anti-curfew riots, most in Amsterdam
The police arrested around 250 people in riots against the coronavirus measures on Sunday. Most of the arrests were made in Amsterdam, Willem Woelders of the National police said to NPO Radio 1, stressing that these are only preliminary figures.
The police were expecting unrest after the implementation of the Netherlands' first curfew since the Second World War, and had the Koninklijke Marechaussee for backup. But they were still surprised by the massive number of people who took to the streets, Woelders said. "I did not expect it to burn so violently in all cities."
He called it unprecedented for there to be so many disturbances in so many parts of the country at the same time, with riots reported in around a dozen municipalities. According to Woelders, there were small groups among the protesters who were out for violence against the police. Police officers recognized a number of football hooligans, he said.
The Amsterdam police reported 190 arrests on Monday morning. Their Eindhoven colleagues reported 62 arrests, after Woelders spoke to the radio station.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte condemned the riots, calling them "criminal violence" that had "nothing to do with the fight for freedom". "You really have to wonder what were these people thinking? The only fight we have to fight is to beat the virus."
He stressed that violence will change nothing about the measures in place against the coronavirus. "The curfew remains necessary. It is the virus that is robbing us of our freedom."