The prime minister condemned the weekend riots in which anti-lockdown protesters attacked police and set cars on fire. “What motivated these people has nothing to do with protest; this is criminal violence,” Mark Rutte said.
Koen Simmers, the head of the national police union, told Dutch television officers were prepared should the rioting continue. “I hope it was a one-off but I’m afraid it could be a harbinger for the days and weeks to come,” he said.
A leading Dutch criminologist, Henk Ferwerda, said the riots involved “virus deniers, political protesters and kids who just saw the chance to go completely wild – all three groups came together”.
“It is unavoidable that a shop is boarded up here and there, but that is different from putting sea containers or enormous barricades made of concrete blocks on the sidewalk.” Mayor Femke Halsema said this on Thursday afternoon during a debate with the city council.