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Dutch Police, protesters clash over COVID-19 lockdown

By News Desk

Several thousands of people held an unauthorised protest in Amsterdam, Netherland against a national lockdown imposed by the government to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

The protesters gathered on a square in front of the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum art galleries, carrying signs reading “Freedom: stop this siege” and chanting “What do we want? Freedom!”.

During the demonstration on Sunday, none of the protesters wore masks, which were not mandatory, and a few respected social distancing rules before being dispersed by law enforcement agencies with water cannon. 

The demonstration which resulted into the clash took place two days after the Dutch government of Prime Minister Mark Rutte collapsed over a child welfare scandal.

Authorities had declined an application for the protest to be held on Museum Square. The demonstrators refused to leave when police told them to do so, and some threw fireworks.

 

The government closed schools and most shops in December to try to stem a surge in COVID-19 cases, and this week extended the lockdown by at least three more weeks.

In the early days of the pandemic, the Netherlands was generally more reluctant than most of its neighbours to impose social restrictions. But during the second, winter wave it has found its hand forced by the rapid spread of infections and growing pressure on its hospitals.

 

 

 

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