Dutch rioters torch virus testing centre as anger mounts over new night curfew

Urk, Netherlands: Rioting youths protesting on the first night of a Dutch curfew torched a coronavirus testing facility and threw fireworks at police in a Dutch fishing village.

Police said Sunday they fined more than 3,600 people nationwide for breaching the curfew that ran from 9 pm Saturday until 4:30 am Sunday. 25 people were arrested for breaching the curfew or for violence.

Video from the village of Urk, 80 kilometres northeast of Amsterdam, showed youths breaking into the coronavirus testing facility near the village’s harbour before it was set ablaze Saturday night.

Police patrol the streets of Amsterdam ahead of a curfew. Credit:Getty Images

The police and municipality issued a statement Sunday expressing their anger at rioting, “from throwing fireworks and stones to destroying police cars and with the torching of the test location as a deep point.“

“This is not only unacceptable, but also a slap in the face, especially for the local health authority staff who do all they can at the test centre to help people from Urk,” the local authorities said, adding that the curfew would be strictly enforced for the rest of the week.

On Sunday, all that remained of the portable building used to administer coronavirus tests was a burned-out shell.

A police officer takes images of a torched coronavirus testing facility in the Dutch fishing village of Urk.Credit:AP

The Netherlands has been in lockdown since mid-December.

Police in Amsterdam also were bracing for another protest Sunday, sending officers to a square where demonstrators clashed with police a week ago. The city’s municipality designated the square a “risk area,” a move that gave police extra powers to frisk people.

AP

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