Violent clashes erupt during anti-blockade demonstrations in Europe

Riots broke out in The Hague on Saturday over new coronavirus measures from the Dutch government. Video from the scene shows riot police deploying water cannons and attacking groups of protesters.

The Netherlands re-entered a three-week partial lockdown last Saturday and now plans to ban unvaccinated people from entering some places.

Five policemen were injured during the clashes in The Hague, one was taken to hospital with a concussion and two suffered hearing damage from loud fireworks, police said in a statement.

Thousands of protesters attended a largely peaceful march in the capital Amsterdam on Saturday. The Dutch public broadcaster NOS also reported riots in the city of Urk and cities in the southern province of Limburg. The protests follow violent clashes on Friday night in the port city of Rotterdam, during which police were forced to fire to disperse the crowd and 51 people were arrested.

Anti-blockade protesters hold torches in Vienna, Austria, on Saturday.

Elsewhere, an estimated 40,000 people filled the streets of Vienna on Saturday in the country’s largest coronavirus-related protest to date. Police tried to stop the protest and when “the mood was about to fade,” they stopped fining those who did not wear masks, Franz Eigner, vice president of the Vienna police, said during a press conference on Sunday.

Some policemen had been sprayed with “unidentified liquid” and protesters were attempting to blind a helicopter with a laser, Eigner said.

A small number of protesters were “extremely prone to violence,” Austrian Interior Minister Karl Nehammer said during the press conference, which he associated with the “right-wing extremist scene.”

Europe is learning a crucial lesson: vaccines work, but they alone won't stop Covid now

Austria will re-introduce a partial blockade at the national level on Monday and will make coronavirus vaccines mandatory from February next year.

More than 1,400 police officers were deployed across the country to maintain public order, according to a police statement. Pepper spray was used in a “heated” protest in central Vienna, the police statement added.

France sent dozens of elite police and counter-terrorism agents to its Caribbean island of Guadeloupe on Saturday after looting and arson overnight, in defiance of the night curfew.

The island’s prefect introduced a stay-at-home order on Friday after protests against the vaccine pass turned into violence the night before. The Interior Ministry said 31 people had been arrested.

Around 15,000 people protested in Zagreb on Saturday against the Croatian government’s coronavirus measures. As of Monday, only people with a Covid passport can enter government and public buildings in Croatia.

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