Corona demo violence: police officers cornered – shots at people

by time news

Is it all because of corona measures? A demonstration gets totally out of hand. Stones fly, cars burn, then the police shoot. The balance of the night of violence: seven injured and great horror.

Burned-out cars, charred bicycles, streets littered with stones and glass: the indoor stand in Rotterdam offers a picture of the devastation on Saturday morning after the violent Corona riots that night. “It was an orgy of violence,” said Rotterdam Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb.

Mayor speaks of “orgy of violence”

An unannounced demonstration against corona measures got totally out of hand during the night. According to the mayor, the police felt so threatened that officials even took up firearms. Preliminary results: seven injured, more than 50 arrests, damage of a previously unknown amount. The day after, there is horror and indignation.

There are still many unanswered questions about the explosion of violence. The judiciary announced further arrests, but also extensive investigations into the use of weapons by the police. Justice Minister Ferd Grapperhaus spoke of “extreme violence against the police, emergency services and firefighters”. Journalists were also attacked. “That has nothing to do with demonstrating,” said Grapperhaus. “This is simply criminal behavior.”

On late Friday evening, a few hundred people demonstrated against possible tightening of the corona measures in the center of the port city. The demonstration had not been registered. Reporters reported that soccer hooligans had also come to the Coolsingel in the center.

Stones and fireworks were pelted at the police, cars were set on fire, and traffic signs were torn from the ground. The Minister of Justice spoke of targeted attacks on police officers.

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Cornered: Police officers aimed at people

According to their own account, the police first fired warning shots and then shot people in a targeted manner. According to a spokesman for the police union, this happened in at least two cases. “Police officers were cornered and trapped by a larger group of rioters,” said Jan Struijs from the union to the TV broadcaster NOS about the first case. In the second case, officials from the fire brigade came to the rescue, which had been attacked. The officers targeted the attackers’ legs. In the Netherlands, the police rarely use firearms when there is a riot.

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According to the police, two people who had been hit by police bullets were treated in the hospital. At first it was unclear how badly they were injured. The police also reported injuries in their own ranks. At least one journalist was also attacked and injured by rioters.

The Rotterdam police had requested reinforcements that evening. Several hundred officials came to the port city from all over the country. The mayor issued an emergency ordinance. The train service to and from Rotterdam has been temporarily suspended. At 1.30 a.m., the situation had become manageable, the police reported.

Excessive violence: politicians react in horror, citizens outraged

The TV broadcaster NOS showed pictures of the violence: a police car burns, flames blaze, gunshots can be heard, fireworks explode. Videos of injured people can be seen on social networks.

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Politicians expressed their horror at the extent of the violence. Citizens reacted indignantly. “It has nothing to do with demonstrating,” complained a woman on Dutch television. One man called the rioters “scum”. One woman said: “Rotterdamers cannot be proud of that. I am ashamed.”

The demonstration was directed against plans by the government to introduce the 2G rule for events and restaurants. A demonstration against tightening the measures planned for Saturday in Amsterdam was canceled by the organizers after the events in Rotterdam. Nevertheless, according to police, several thousand people took to the streets in the afternoon.

Corona riots are not new in the Netherlands. There had already been a wave of violence in several cities in January after a curfew was imposed. Back then, too, Rotterdam was a center of violence. (vd / dpa)

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