Nearly 200 arrested in the Netherlands after third night of riots

Nearly 200 arrested in the Netherlands after third night of riots
Credit: Belga

At least 184 people were arrested in the Netherlands for their involvement in riots that took place for the third consecutive night, the Dutch police announced on Tuesday.

At least ten police officers were injured in the latest clashes with rioters, who looted shops and set cars on fire in several cities including Rotterdam, Amsterdam and The Hague on Monday night.

The riots began Saturday night, as a 9:00 PM to 4:30 AM curfew imposed for the first time since World War II to combat the coronavirus pandemic took effect in the country.

"We can confirm at least 184 arrests," police spokesman Sherlo Esajas told AFP. According to the police, who have already apprehended 250 people on Sunday, other arrests could follow.

Police chief Henk van Essen strongly condemned the rioters, saying that the unrest "no longer had anything to do with the right to demonstrate."

“Respect to all colleagues who have gone through difficult times in recent nights," he tweeted.

Police unions said the riots were the worst in four decades, since clashes between police and squatters who had been evicted from buildings they had illegally occupied since the 1980s.

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Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte condemned the "criminal violence" on Monday, saying it was unacceptable and that "99%" of Dutch people support the restrictions.

Clean-up operations continued on Tuesday for the second day in a row in several city centres, including the port city of Rotterdam and Den Bosch in the south, where images showed gangs of rioters looting shops.

The mayors of several cities reacted angrily, the mayor of Rotterdam, Ahmed Aboutaleb, denouncing the rioters as "shameless thieves", reported the national TV channel NOS.

The protests had started on a small scale Saturday night, and a Covid-19 testing centre was set on fire in the village of Urk, in the north of the country.

They spread out on Sunday, with the use of water cannons, tear gas grenades and mounted police in Eindhoven, Rotterdam and Amsterdam.

The Netherlands has seen 35.635 new cases of coronavirus over the past week, and more than 500 people died in the past week, according to the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM).

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