Seven people were injured after police fired warning shots when riots broke out in the Dutch city of Rotterdam during protests against new Covid restrictions.
Police said dozens of people were arrested and among the wounded were officers, and units were sent from different parts of the Netherlands to help restore order. Two people are believed to have been injured by police warning shots.
The violent unrest was linked to anger among some Dutch citizens over government plans to restrict access of unvaccinated people to specific places.
Riot police used water cannons in an attempt to remove several hundred rioters from a central street in the city.
Officers issued emergency law in Rotterdam, shutting down public transport and ordering people to go home
“The police are there in large numbers and they are trying to restore order,” Rotterdam police said. “Maximum police deployment is necessary to restore public order. Emergency order still in effect, stay away from Coolsingel.”
Pictures in Dutch media showed at least one police car set ablaze and another bike with its windshield smashed.
“We fired warning shots and I also fired direct shots because the situation was life-threatening,” police spokeswoman Patricia Wessels told Reuters news agency.
“We know that at least two people were injured, possibly as a result of warning shots, but we need to investigate further into the exact causes.”
Witnesses with video of the riots were urged to provide footage to police.
The government has said it wants to enact a law allowing companies to restrict the country’s coronavirus passage system to only people who have been fully vaccinated or have recovered from Covid-19, excluding people who have tested positive for the virus.
The partial lockdown came into effect a week ago after the country saw record numbers of infections.
In January, riots erupted in Rotterdam and other Dutch cities after the government announced a curfew in an attempt to curb coronavirus infections.