Rioting in Rotterdam after Dutch government tightens pandemic restrictions

An unknown number of people were injured in downtown Rotterdam when police fired warning shots during a demonstration against government plans to restrict unvaccinated access to some venues.

Police said in a tweet that there were “gunshot-related injuries” during the riot, while riot police used a water cannon to evict hundreds of rioters from a central street in the port city.

A social media video shown on Dutch broadcaster NOS appeared to show that a person was shot, but there was no immediate news of what happened.

The police said in a tweet that it was “still unclear how and by whom” the person was apparently shot.

Late on Friday evening, police said the city center of Rotterdam was restless and there was still a heavy police presence on the streets.

Police said they had arrested dozen of rioters and expected to arrest more. They said about seven people were injured, including police officers, but no further details were given.

Photos in Dutch media showed at least one police car on fire and another with a bike smashed through the windshield.

The local political party Leefbaar Rotterdam condemned the violence in a tweet.

“The center of our beautiful city has turned into a war zone tonight,” it said. “Rotterdam is a city in which one cannot agree with what has happened, but violence is never, never, the solution.”

Police tweeted that rioters started fires and threw fireworks during the riot and that authorities closed the city’s main train station.

Local media reports that soccer hooligans were involved in the rioting.

The government has announced plans to enact law that would allow companies to restrict the country’s coronavirus passport system to those who are fully vaccinated or have recovered from Covid-19 – that would exclude people who tested negative .

The country has seen record numbers of infections in the past few days and a new partial lock went into effect a week ago.

In January, riots broke out in Rotterdam and other Dutch cities after the government announced a curfew to contain rising coronavirus infections.

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