Netherlands gripped by wave of anti-lockdown protests

On Wednesday, protests were held in several Dutch cities, including Amsterdam, The Hague, Delft, Emmen, and others. Most protests on Wednesday were small-scale gatherings, making it the first daily wave of protests announced by the activist group. [EPA-EFE/PHIL NIJHUIS]

Multiple protests will be held across the country this week, a Dutch activist group called “Netherlands in Resistance” (Nederland in Verzet) announced as the country faces its third week of a hard lockdown.

On Wednesday, protests were held in several Dutch cities, including Amsterdam, The Hague, Delft, Emmen, and others. Most protests on Wednesday were small-scale gatherings, making it the first daily wave of protests announced by the activist group.

A large protest was held in the centre of Amsterdam on Sunday, with over 10,000 people attending. Protesters held signs and banners saying “less repression, more care” and “our government is against us”. A crowd around the Museumplein square was broken up by the police, which reported arresting 30 people. According to the mayor’s spokesperson, future protests in Amsterdam will be allowed to occur as long as there is no threat to public order.

Dutch police were accused of brutality against protestors on Sunday, with videos circulating online of the police using batons and dogs to disperse crowds. Party members of the rising right-wing Forum for Democracy (FvD) held speeches and spoke to protesters at the event.

During the holiday period, many Dutch people crossed the border to neighbouring Belgium and Germany to do their Christmas shopping and celebrate New Year’s Eve.

Non-essential businesses such as restaurants, bars, or retail shops were ordered to close until 14 January in an attempt to halt the spread of the Omicron variant. In the Netherlands, 70% of the population is currently fully vaccinated, while only 14% have taken the booster shot. 

(Thomas Lehnen | EURACTIV.com)

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