Netherlands, Austria, West Indies: demonstrations and violence against anti-Covid measures

the essential Tens of thousands of demonstrators in Vienna, clashes in the Netherlands after a demonstration, scenes of looting and vandalism in the French West Indies: the protest hardens in the face of the measures anti-Covid adopted to stem the resurgence of the pandemic in Europe.

Clashes erupted on Saturday evening in The Hague at the end of a demonstration against the restrictions imposed on the Netherlands, the day after an “orgy of violence” in Rotterdam (southwest) where 51 people were arrested and two gunshot wounds. In a popular area of ​​the city where the Dutch government is seated, several hundred people threw stones and various objects at the police, and set bicycles on fire. At least one arrest has taken place.

The Netherlands reintroduced partial containment last week to deal with an outbreak of Covid cases – 19, with a series of health restrictions affecting the sector in particular restoration, which should close at 20 h. The government is now planning to ban certain places for the unvaccinated, including bars and restaurants.

In Amsterdam, a demonstration, however canceled by the organizers of United We Stand after the chaos the day before in Rotterdam, took place without problem, according to the media, as in Breda (south) where a thousand people marched wearing signs saying “No to confinement”. “People want to live (…) that’s why we are here,” Joost Eras, one of the organizers, told AFP. But “we are not rioters. Here, we are at peace”, he assured, distancing himself from the nocturnal chaos which had erupted the day before in Rotterdam.

In Austria, more than 40 000 people gathered in Vienna on Saturday, a stone’s throw from the former Hofburg Imperial Palace to denounce “the corona-dictatorship” and “fascism”, two days before the entry into force of a new confinement until 13 December. Among those calling for “resistance”, Katarina Gierscher drove six hours from her province of Tyrol to come and demonstrate. “It is not normal that we are deprived of our rights”, deplores this professor of 42 years, who regrets that “the government (wants) to divide us”.

Violence in the West Indies

On the other side of the Atlantic, the mobilization of opponents of the health pass and the compulsory vaccination of healthcare workers, launched by a collective of trade unions and citizens’ organizations, has turned violent in Guadeloupe, one of the two main islands of the French West Indies.

Despite the curfew imposed by the authorities, the night from Friday to Saturday was again marked by looting and fires, a police source reporting “live ammunition” targeting a police vehicle and mobile gendarmes. “About twenty looting or attempted thefts” were recorded in businesses, particularly in Pointe-à-Pitre, the capital, and according to the Ministry of the Interior, 29 people were arrested.

On Friday, four buildings in Pointe-à-Pitre went up in smoke, according to firefighters, while protesters clashed with police with stones or mortar fire around roadblocks. In front of the city hospital, a barrage of demonstrators prevents the entry of vehicles other than ambulances but filters the personnel authorized to enter.

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