Riots broke out across the Netherlands over its COVID-19 curfew, with people torching a virus testing center and attacking a police station

  • Riots and looting are spreading in the Netherlands in defiance of its new curfew.
  • including Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Eindhoven were in uproar.
  • A COVID-19 testing center in one small town was burned to a shell. 
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There were riots and looting across Dutch cities on Monday, a furious reaction to a new COVID-19 curfew imposed by authorities there.

A virus testing center, a hospital, and stores were targeted over three days of violence that came to a head on Monday night, the Associated Press (AP) reported.

The weekend had been the first of a curfew running from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m., a new measure meant to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

This measure was in addition to existing lockdown rules, which include widespread work-from-home orders, mask-wearing in most indoor locations, and social distancing of 5 feet.

There are multiple reports of violent incidents taking place nationwide since Saturday night, including:

  • Saturday: Youths torched a drive-in testing center in the fishing town of Urk, prompting the arrival of riot police, according to local newspaper Het Urkerland. The center was left a burned-out shell.
  • Sunday: A banned anti-lockdown demonstration in Amsterdam turned violent, resulting in the arrest of 190 people, the AP reported. Video footage posted to social media showed people overturning a car:
  • Sunday: Rioters in Eindhoven burned a police car and attacked police with rocks and fireworks, and looted a supermarket, the AP reported. According to the BBC, bicycles were piled into blazing barricades and police were pelted with golf balls.
  • Eindhoven's mayor John Jorritsma called the perpetrators "the scum of the earth" and suggested they had put the country on a path to "civil war" in an emotional press conference, according to the AP. Police have arrested 62 suspects, the agency reported.
  • Monday: Hundreds of youths destroyed vehicles, lit fireworks, smashed store windows and looted stores, in Den Bosch, according to De Volkskrant. 

    —Jorn Jonker(@Jorn) January 25, 1

  • Monday: Shops were looted and a police was pelted with rocks in Rotterdam, prompting police to use tear gas and one police officer to fire a warning shot, the paper reported. Separate press photography shows firefighters putting out a blaze the same evening. 
  • Confrontations and protests were also reported in Zwolle, Helmond, Haarlem, and the Hague, according to multiple reports.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte condemned the violence, distancing it from legitimate protest. "This has nothing to do with protest, this criminal violence and we will treat it as such," the BBC reported telling a press conference.

In the town of Goes and the province of North Holland, police have detained people on suspicion of using social media to call for violence, the AP reported. 

The Netherlands has reported just over 966,000 cases and 13,686 deaths from the virus to date. 

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