Anti-lockdown protesters blasted with water cannons as they launch fireworks at police

Dramatic images show protesters clashing with police outside The Hague in the Netherlands after Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced new measures to combat a surge in Covid

Clashes between the police and anti-lockdown demonstrators took place outside The Hague in the Netherlands (

Image: Getty Images)

Anti-lockdown protesters have been fired at with water cannons after launching rockets at police at a rally over new restrictions in the Netherlands.

Dramatic pictures and videos show the group of protesters clash with officials outside The Hague as tensions mount.

Around 200 protesters gathered when the move was announced last night.

Yesterday, the country’s executive prime minister, Mark Rutte, said he had no choice but to impose new measures due to rising Covid rates in the country.

He said sporting events would once again be played behind closed doors, while shops and restaurants would have to close earlier.

The government also recommended no more than four visitors to the home from now on.

Cafes and nightclubs have to close at 8 p.m. today.

In a televised address yesterday evening, Mr. Rutte said: “Tonight we are bringing a very unpleasant message with very unpleasant and far-reaching measures.

“The virus is everywhere and must be fought everywhere.”

The measures are designed to stem an increase in coronavirus cases that are affecting hospitals across the country.

The new infections exceeded 16,000 for the second time in a row on Friday, surpassing the previous record of almost 13,000 confirmed cases on one day in December last year.

The measures follow an increase in new Covid cases in recent weeks
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Image:

Getty Images)

Instructing people to work from home whenever possible, Mr Rutte said spectators will not be allowed to attend sporting events in the coming weeks, including the Dutch soccer team’s World Cup qualifier against Norway on Tuesday.

Schools, theaters and cinemas remain open.

Friday’s announcement marked a dramatic change in policy for the Dutch government, which until last month thought a relatively high vaccination rate would allow it to ease measures further towards the end of the year.

Almost 85 percent of the adult Dutch population is fully vaccinated.

Since the pandemic started, the Netherlands has recorded 2.27 million Covid cases and 18,695 related deaths.

It comes after Austria said Thursday it was days away from locking down millions of unvaccinated people.

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