Rioters clashed violently with police in several Dutch cities defying the country’s coronavirus curfew.
Monday marked the third night of unrest across the Netherlands which initially arose out of calls to protest its strict lockdown from COVID-19.
The motivation behind the vandalism and other incidents in cities ranging from Rotterdam and Amsterdam to the small centers of Haarlem, Geleen and Den Bosch was no longer clear, with the rioters mostly teenagers.
Police said hundreds of people had been arrested since the weekend as rioters threw stones and in one case knives at police, and set a COVID-19 test station on fire.
Police union NPB said there could be more protests to come as the lockdown continues and the Netherlands’ vaccination program has been among the slowest in Europe to start.
“We haven’t seen so much violence in 40 years,” Koen Simmers, a member of the police union board, told the Nieuwsuur TV show.
The Netherlands was already under its toughest measures since the start of the pandemic, with bars and restaurants having closed in October and schools and non-essential shops closed since December.
More than 13,500 people have died in the Netherlands since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As the rate of new infections slows, growing fears about new, more infectious strains of the virus have prompted the government to announce the curfew.