Dutch protesters blasted with water cannons by riot cops as lockdown returns amid Covid surge across Europe

Dutch protesters blasted with water cannons by riot cops as lockdown returns amid Covid surge across Europe

November 13, 2021

HUNDREDS of anti-lockdown protesters were blasted with water cannons as the Netherlands geared up for the return of Covid restrictions.

Demonstrators lobbed stones and fireworks in fury at the reintroduction of the measures amid surging cases before riot cops swarmed to disperse them.



Around 200 protesters joined the rally outside the justice and security ministry in The Hague as Prime Minister Mark Rutte gave a press conference to unveil the new rules.

Footage shows a mob brandishing posters huddled on the ground bracing for the impact of water.

Police then send huge jets straight at them while they continue to shout.

Clips from later that evening show things turning violent with bikes being hurled at officers and traffic signs thrown in the air.

Cops struck fleeing protesters with batons and shields as they chased them down the street.

And fireworks, flares and rocks were also catapulted during last night's demo.

The group were retaliating against the reintroduction of lockdown measures from today after record-level cases.

While coronavirus deaths remain relatively low in the Netherlands, the country recorded its highest ever daily infection count on Friday.

A further 16,204 fresh infections were reported, compared to 40,375 on the same day in the UK.

Under the new rules, restaurants and non-essential shops will close early for three weeks, while fans will be barred from major sporting events.

Gatherings at home will also be limited to a maximum of four guests, and home working is advised except in "absolutely unavoidable" circumstances.

Rutte said last night: "We must reduce the number of contacts and infections as fast as possible.

"Tonight we are bringing a very unpleasant message, with very unpleasant and far-reaching measures.

"The virus is everywhere and needs to combated everywhere. I want every Dutch citizen to be asking, can I do more? Can I do better?

"We had hoped with the vaccines we wouldn’t have to do this, but we see the same situation all across Europe."

He added: "Fortunately, the vast majority have been vaccinated, otherwise the misery in the hospitals would be incalculable at the moment."

'INCALCULABLE MISERY'

The Netherlands, which scrapped most measures in late September, has become the first country in western Europe to reintroduce lockdown restrictions this winter.

But others may follow suit after EU experts said 10 countries in the bloc were causing "very high concern" as the pandemic worsens across the continent.

In its weekly risk assessment, the European Centre for Disease Control listed Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland and Slovenia in its highest category of concern.

Austria announced plans to impose lockdown measures on the unvaccinated,, while Germany is also mulling a partial lockdown after the country reported 48,184 infections on November 12 and a record 50,377 the day before.

Boris Johnson yesterday warned that Covid "storm clouds are gathering" in the strongest signal yet he could impose fresh restrictions in the UK.

The Prime Minister said concerning infection rates in Europe could bleed into Britain this winter.

Mr Johnson said: "We have got a situation now where there is no question that there is a wave of infection coming across Eastern Europe.

"We are seeing numbers rise in Germany very steeply."

It’s unlikely we'll get anything close to last year’s catastrophic winter wave at this point.

However, Professor Neil Ferguson, who advises the government, said Covid restrictions will not be needed over the colder months thanks to widespread immunity from the UK's recent high infection rates and booster jab programme.

Prof Ferguson, who notoriously lobbied for the first lockdown last year, said: "We’re in a very different situation from other European countries at the moment.

“It’s unlikely we'll get anything close to last year’s catastrophic winter wave at this point.

"We can't be complacent, but I don't think we'll be in the situation as the Netherlands."

Almost 70 per cent of the population in the Netherlands is vaccinated against the virus, compared to an EU average of 65.8 per cent.

In the UK, almost three quarters of people have received at least one dose.

Almost 46 million people have received two jabs, and more than 11.8 million boosters have been administered.

Hospital admissions are falling as a result, and the crucial R-rate has also dropped from 0.9-0.1 to 0.8-1.



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