THE HAGUE — Violent clashes broke out in the Dutch city of Rotterdam on Friday night over newly imposed COVID-19 measures, with police opening fire on protesters, potentially claiming three lives.
The riots followed a massive dock workers’ strike that occurred the day before when protestors blocked all main entry and exit roads to the harbor of Rotterdam, which is a vital artery to the western European backland.
The activists handed out pamphlets to frustrated truck drivers stuck for hours until the blockade lifted just after dusk.
Distributed leaflets showed that the dockers were campaigning against the segregation in society as proposed by the 2-G rule, which dictates that only the vaccinated and the COVID-19 recovered are allowed to participate in many aspects of society, like attending bars, restaurants, gyms, museums, theaters, barbershops, and possibly malls, and larger supermarkets.
The protests on Friday were said to be ignited by a ban on the use of fireworks by private citizens during this year’s New Year’s Eve celebrations. The fireworks ban is part of a broader package of restrictions being enacted to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said he wanted to deal the virus a “severe blow.”
Rotterdam police announced on Twitter that 51 people had been arrested, adding that half of them were juniors.
“Two rioters were wounded when bullets hit them. They remain in hospital,” police said on Twitter.
Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb called the protests “an orgy of violence.”
“Police were forced to draw their weapons and even fire direct shots,” Aboutaleb said on a presser the next day.
However, protest groups on social media like Signal and Telegram were buzzing with rumors “from a reliable source” that three protestors had been killed by gunfire, and at least two were hospitalized.
If true, that would mean four citizens have lost their lives over the past two weeks after 50-year-old Mariëlle Tock lost her life during a protest on Nov. 8 — an incident that was ignored by the Dutch mainstream media. Purportedly, Tock lost her life due to police violence.
It is not known whether the police also suffered losses apart from the material damage that occurred. Several police cars were set ablaze.
Dutch anti-lockdown blogger, Martin Vrijland, fears that the sudden outbreak of violent protests among the otherwise obedient and sleepy population could have resulted due to a psyop by the secret services. Its purpose would be to create an excuse for military intervention and martial law.
“If there’s one thing (the) people (in power) don’t want, it’s authentic resistance, and if your Big Data data shows that the Netherlands is waking up, then it works very well to set Rome itself on fire,” Vrijland said.
“It’s about the Gladio technique of using your own men in plain clothes to stir things up so that you can then show dramatic images to the national and international press, and then be able to say that maybe we should deploy the army or add armored vehicles to the police arsenal,” he said.
Dutch minister of Justice Ferd Grapperhaus said on Dutch television that he’s fine with people demonstrating to voice dissenting opinions but, when it turns violent to this extent, as far as he’s concerned “demonstrating is no longer a right.”
On Saturday, spontaneous protests were again launched in all three major cities, The Hague, Amsterdam, and Rotterdam in the Netherlands, but so far, they have been relatively peaceful.
Protesters vowed to keep demonstrating over the coming days and weeks until all the restrictive COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted and democracy restored.