A COVID-19 test facility was set on fire in the Netherlands during riots on the first night of a strict new curfew – with police later using water cannons against protesters as violence erupted on Sunday.
A video from local media from Urk, a fishing village about 50 miles northeast of Amsterdam, shows a crowd breaking into a portable testing facility on Saturday night and setting it on fire.
By Sunday morning, only a burnt shell remained, with police saying it came the night the rebels threw stones and fireworks in an attempt to destroy cops’ cars.
The violence came as a strict curfew – the first in the country since World War II ̵
By early Sunday, at least 25 people had been arrested and more than 3,600 people had been fined for violating curfews, police said.
That number was expected to jump on Sunday as riots broke out in several cities across the country.
In the Dutch capital, Amsterdam, police used a water cannon on Sunday to disperse protesters in a large square surrounded by museums, including one for Dutch Impressionist master Van Gogh.
It was the same square where 143 people were arrested during similar protests a week ago, and Mayor Femke Halsema described it as a “high-risk area” to give police the power to search for weapons.
Police in Eindhoven also used a water cannon and tear gas against a crowd of hundreds of protesters, including supporters of the anti-immigrant group PEGIDA.
Eindhoven police said they had made at least 30 arrests by late afternoon and warned people to stay away from the city center amid the clashes. No immediate injuries were reported.
Schools and small shops in the Netherlands have been closed since mid-December, following the closure of bars and restaurants two months earlier.
Parliament voted last week to impose a curfew amid fears that the highly contagious mutation in the UK will lead to an increase in cases, although new infections are usually declining.
Violators can be fined $ 115, and the only exceptions to the curfew include medical emergencies, people doing basic activities and people walking their dogs. It must last at least until February 9.
As of Sunday, the Netherlands had reported just over 960,000 infections with 13,646 deaths, far fewer than the most affected European countries such as Britain, France, Spain, Italy and Germany, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
With postal wires