Dutch police arrest dozens at coronavirus protest clashes

Protesters burn flares as they gather at the city’s central Malieveld grounds to demonstrate in The Hague on June 21, 2020. (AFP)

Dutch police on Sunday charged on horseback and fired water cannon to disperse protesters frustrated with the government’s coronavirus policies, arresting dozens after skirmishes broke out.

Hundreds of people gathered in the city center, many carrying placards or holding hands, to demonstrate against measures including the 1.5 meter social distancing rule.

Acting mayor Johan Remkes had initially barred the protest but later agreed to a time-limited demonstration.

Read the latest updates in our dedicated coronavirus section.

Police said the protest was peaceful until a group of football fans clashed with riot police at the nearby Central Station, throwing stones and bottles.

Officers later surrounded dozens of demonstrators who refused to leave.

“The remaining demonstrators refused to leave and have been detained under public demonstration legislation,” The Hague police said in a tweet.

“Five people have also been detained at Central Station for throwing stones.”

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The Netherlands has been commended for its “intelligent lockdown” approach, which was less strict than some other European countries, with no full stay-at-home orders.

Restaurants, cinemas, cafes, museums and terraces were all authorized to open on June 1, but with social distancing rules in place and establishments limited to a maximum of 30 customers.

The Netherlands has confirmed 49,593 cases and 6,090 deaths, with one death reported overnight.

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Last Update: Monday, 22 June 2020 KSA 00:30 - GMT 21:30
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