Thousands protest Covid measures in Netherlands despite ban on gatherings
Thousands of demonstrators in the Netherlands on Sunday defied a government ban on large protests to voice their anger over COVID-19 restrictions.
There were some clashes between riot police and protesters in the Dutch capital Amsterdam, reported DW News.
The local government in Amsterdam had banned Sunday's protest, saying police had indications some protesters might be planning "violence."
Riot police marched across the grass to clear the area, sending the demonstrators into nearby streets.
Protesters congregated in the city centre before marching toward a park in the Dutch capital where a rally of the populist Forum for Democracy party took place, reported DW News.
A small group of protesters briefly clashed with riot police as officers made efforts to clear the crowd from Museum Square, reported DW News.
The municipality later issued an emergency order for people to leave the square.
Most people complied with the call to disperse, given via loudspeaker, from the square in front of the Rijksmuseum. Before officers moved in, some people near the Van Gogh Museum unfurled a banner that read, "Less repression, more care."
A group of people in white overalls and white masks held up signs, including one that said: "It's not about a virus, it's about control'' on one side and "Freedom" on the other, reported DW News.
The Netherlands is currently in a strict lockdown, which is expected to last until at least mid-January.
Despite the rapid spread of the highly contagious omicron variant, coronavirus infection rates in the Netherlands have been gradually decreasing in recent weeks.
The cases have been on the decline since the country reintroduced lockdown measures in November, before tightening them further during the holiday season, reported DW News.
Meanwhile, more countries in Europe are implementing or considering further measures to contain the Omicron variant as people return to work and school after the holidays.
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