European residents have broken into chaotic protests, taking to the streets to decry the government's heightened coronavirus restrictions implementation in a number of countries in the region.
In the Netherlands on Saturday, residents protested in the streets at The Hague, where demonstrators lit fires throughout the area. They also defaced properties and threw rocks and shot fireworks at police officers, said authorities. The protests lasted until roughly 1:00 a.m. and police arrested 19 people before the end of the night.
Violent Europe Protests
The same protest at The Hague resulted in five police officers getting injured according to reports. In a Twitter post, the police department said that one of its personnel suffered a knee injury and a concussion while others sustained hearing damage.
On the same day, many other protests took place in the Netherlands with people outraged over the heightened coronavirus restrictions. The list of affected areas includes Amsterdam, Breda, and Katwijk. Fans broke into two soccer games in Alkmaar and Almelo in defiance of recent lockdown orders, NPR reported.
One of the protests had tens of thousands of people marching in the Belgian capital of Brussels to decry the government's decisions. The demonstrations resulted in police officers using tear gas and water cannons to try and control the crowd.
The primary reason that residents were protesting against the restrictions was the use of COVID passes. The requirement effectively prevents unvaccinated people from entering venues such as restaurants or bars.
The demonstrations come as recent, similar protests took place in defiance of the Netherlands' new lockdown rules. The Hague protest, where residents burned bicycles, came after Rotterdam residents were engulfed in a violent demonstration with police who fired their guns, BBC reported.
The protests across the region resulted in at least seven people getting injured and more than 50 being taken into custody by police. The lockdown rules that residents were against forced restaurants and other establishments to close at 8:00 p.m.
Decrying Heightened Restrictions
Vienna residents, which numbered in the tens of thousands, protested in the streets on Saturday, decrying the decision to mandate vaccines for everyone starting in February. Officials also imposed new lockdowns that were slated to begin on Monday.
Weekly protests in Italy opposed coronavirus restrictions and showed no signs of easing as demonstrators in Rome gathered, including the none held at the ancient Maximus grounds. Internet users took to social media platforms to upload videos capturing the events of the protests in other countries, including France and Switzerland.
The minister of security and justice in the Netherlands, Ferd Grapperhaus, called for a "vigorous debate" over pandemic measures. However, the official said that harassment and violence did not belong there.
The mayor of Rotterdam, Ahmed Aboutaleb, described the encounters between protestors and police as "an orgy of violence" and defended police who fired their weapons by saying that they were defending themselves. Amid the gunshots, officials were investigating whether or not two victims, who had bullet injuries, were struck by police weapons.
Worldwide, Europe is the only region that records a continuously rising death toll, experiencing a 5% jump earlier this month. Authorities have responded by tightening rules and regulations regarding unvaccinated individuals, the Washington Post reported.