Mayors, MPs furious over third night of anti-curfew riots
Mayors and parliamentarians responded with fury to a third night of rioting throughout the Netherlands on Monday. It was the third night on which the coronavirus curfew was in effect.
"Shameless thieves, I cannot say otherwise," Rotterdam mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb said to NOS. Shops were looted and police officers attacked in Rotterdam-Zuid. "I hat to threaten with the use of teargas, a far-reaching measure. I find that sad, because I have never had to do that in my entire career as mayor."
Den Bosch mayor Jack Mikkers is launching an investigation into riot police deployment, he said to Omroep Brabant. According to him, it took a long time for the riot police to arrive in his city, because of deployment in other cities. "The riot police were summoned quickly, but before they arrived, it took a long time." Time during which rioting and looting continued. "While they left an unimaginable trail of destruction," he said.
Mayor Jos Wienen of Haarlem called the riots and vandalism unacceptable. "The coronavirus measures are tough for everyone, we all yearn for more freedom of movement. But that does not entitle anyone to march around town in groups during curfew, starting fires, lighting fireworks and committing vandalism," he said to NOS.
Mayor Hans Verheijen of Sittard-Geleen issued an emergency decree so that preventative searching was possible. "Damaging other people's property doesn't help anyone at all. In fact, you push people and entrepreneurs even further down. Unacceptable," he said to the broadcaster.
Nijmegen mayor Hubert Bruls also issued an emergency decree. "Nijmegen is an open city. And it was not a pleasant evening for me to make such a decision here in the heart of the city. That gives me a lot of sadness," he said to Omroep Gelderland. He is disturbed by calls on social media, he said. It is disgusting to call for looting, harassing people and destroying property. We respond appropriately and arrest rioters."
Parliamentarians were also disgusted by the riots. "This just hurts," CDA parliamentarian Wytske Postma tweeted. "Until now, looting shops was always something that happened in other countries. Not here. Not in the Netherlands."
"As much as I am against curfew, it is not a license to riot, destroy other people's belongings, and loot shops," DENK MP Tunahan Kuzu tweeted.
"Terrible all those images of rioters, who leave a trail of destruction," 50Plus chairman Corrie van Brenk said.
VVD parliamentarian Bente Becker spoke of "bizarre violence and looting". "This is not a protest, but demolishing your hometown at the expense of aid workers, shopkeepers and police officers. Stop this!"
PVV leader Geert Wilders called on the Prime Minister to deploy the army, and blamed the rioting on immigrants.