Hundreds arrested as anti-curfew riots spread across the Netherlands

Rioters have clashed with police in Dutch towns and cities, defying the country’s coronavirus restrictions.

Officers in Rotterdam used a water cannon and tear gas in an attempt to disperse crowds who were protesting against a national 9pm curfew.

Authorities said youths took to the streets ‘seeking a confrontation with police’.

Riot officers attempted to break up the violence and made a number of arrests, before firing tear gas.

National broadcaster NOS showed video of police using a water cannon and reported that some shops had been looted.

In Eindhoven police clashed with hundreds of rioters who torched a car, threw rocks and fireworks at officers, smashed windows and looted a supermarket.

There was also trouble in the capital, Amsterdam, where at least eight people were arrested and the central city of Amersfoort, where a car was turned on its side, according to local reports.

It was the second night of unrest across the Netherlands that initially grew out of calls to protest against the country’s tough lockdown, but degenerated into vandalism by crowds.

In the southern town of Geleen, police tweeted that youths in the central area were throwing fireworks.

Riot police charged at protesters in The Hague.

Dutch media reported calls on social media for further violent protests even as the country struggled to contain new coronavirus infections, hospital admissions and deaths.

Police in the southern town of Goes and the North Holland province said they detained people on suspicion of using social media to call for rioting.

‘It is unacceptable,’ Prime Minister Mark Rutte said earlier on Monday.

‘This has nothing to do with protesting, this is criminal violence and that’s how we’ll treat it.’

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