Police fire gunshots during Rotterdam Covid measures protest; Several hurt
The police in Rotterdam fired multiple warning shots during riots on the Coolsingel, a main road in the center of the city. “There are injuries related to the gunshots fired,” police confirmed in a statement. Broadcaster NOS said two people were hurt after police fired targeted shots. Earlier, police had also fired warning shots.
It was not immediately clear how many people were injured in total. There were also reports that a journalist was attacked on the street. Local broadcaster Rijnmond said the journalist was beaten and his camera was destroyed.
The violence erupted during a demonstration against coronavirus restrictions, with many voicing their concern about the 2G coronavirus access pass system. If the 2G system is implemented, it will mean that only people who have recovered from Covid-19 and those vaccinated against the disease will be allowed in to multiple locations, including bars and restaurants. Currently, the Netherlands uses the 3G system which also grants access passes to to people who tested negative for the coronavirus infection with 24 hours of the pass being used.
“A demonstration on the Coolsingel resulted in rioting,” police said on social media. A police riot squad was deployed to restore order. “Fires have been set in various places, fireworks are being set off, and the police have fired several (warning) shots. The police are present in large numbers and are trying to restore order.”
During the clashes, police vehicles and other vehicles were set on fire. People at the scene also said water cannons were used to disperse the crowd. Other police cars and vans were also damaged.
“Horrible images from Rotterdam are reaching us via all sorts of channels. This has nothing to do with demonstrating but with rioting scum and naive stupid followers,” said Koen Simmers of the Dutch Police Association. “Much respect for our colleagues who are combating this.”
As a result of the violence, the central train station in Rotterdam was also closed. “Due to riots in Rotterdam, no trains can run to and from Rotterdam Central Station until further notice,” the NS said on Twitter. “Partly due to the situation in the city, no replacement service buses are being used.” The national railway said it would provide updates on its social media channels.
Several Rotterdam metro stops were also shut down, including the ones at the Central Station and City Hall, and also Beurs, Leuvehaven en Eendrachtsplein. The digital signs along the A20 ring road and on local roads also called on motorists to avoid the center of Rotterdam, ANP reported.
Rijnmond reported that the demonstration was organized by Protestgroep Feyenoord City and Dockers United. The latter was linked to several messages on social media calling for another demonstration on Saturday at Dam Square in Amsterdam, and rallies in Nijmegen on November 28 and Utrecht on December 4.