AMSTERDAM, Nov 21 (Reuters) – Riots broke out in cities across the Netherlands on Sunday, the third night in a row that police clashed with mobs of angry youths who set fires and threw rocks to protest COVID-19 restrictions.
Unrest was reported in locations including Leeuwarden and Groningen in the north, the eastern town of Enschede and Tilburg in the south. In Enschede, where an emergency ordinance was issued, police used batons to try to disperse a crowd, according to video on social media. In Leeuwarden, police vans were pelted with rocks and black-clad groups chanted and set off flares.
Responding to the worst disturbances since a full lockdown led to widespread disorder and more than 500 arrests in January, police said five officers had been injured overnight Saturday and at least 64 people detained in three provinces, including dozens who threw fireworks and fences during a soccer match at Feyenoord Rotterdam’s stadium.
The latest unrest began on Friday night in Rotterdam, where police opened fire on a crowd that had swelled to hundreds during a protest that the city’s mayor said had turned into “an orgy of violence”.
Protestors gather at Cafe del Mondo during demonstrations against coronavirus disease (COVID-19) measures in Amsterdam, Netherlands, November 20, 2021. REUTERS/Eva Plevier
Four people believed to have been hit by police bullets remained in hospital on Sunday, a statement by the authorities said. read more
The protests were sparked by opposition to government plans to restrict use of a national corona pass to people who have either recovered from COVID-19 or have been vaccinated, excluding those with a negative test result.
The Netherlands reimposed some lockdown measures on its 17.5 million population last weekend for an initial three weeks in an effort to slow a resurgence of the virus, but daily infections have remained at their highest levels since the start of the pandemic. read more
Some youths were also angered by a New Year’s Eve firework ban to avoid added pressure on hospitals that have already been forced to scale back care due to a surge in COVID-19 patients. read more
Among the most serious confrontations on Saturday night were those in The Hague, where the five officers were hurt, one of them seriously, a police statement said. Police carried out charges on horseback and arrested 19 people, one of them for throwing a rock through the window of a passing ambulance.
“I told Floridians that we would protect their jobs, and today we made that the law,” DeSantis said in a press release this week. “Nobody should lose their job due to heavy-handed COVID mandates, and we had a responsibility to protect the livelihoods of the people of Florida. I’m thankful to the Florida Legislature for joining me in standing up for freedom.”
Effective immediately, private employer COVID-19 vaccine mandates are prohibited. Employers who violate employee health protections will be fined up to $50,000 per violation. Government entities may not require COVID-19 vaccinations of anyone. Educational institutions may not require students to be vaccinated against COVID-19. School districts may not have school face mask policies or quarantine healthy students. Parents and students may sue violating school districts and recover costs and attorney’s fees.
Another bill signed by DeSantis prevents the state health officer from mandating vaccines during a public health emergency. He also approved a bill directing the state to begin considering a withdrawal from the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which drafted White House vaccine requirements for private businesses with more than 100 employees.
“We’re making sure that people have a right to earn a living, people have a right to have protections in their place of employment and that parents have protections to be able to direct the upbringing of their kids,” the governor said in a signing ceremony.
Democrats have criticized the bills as politically motivated and dangerous to public health.
“As we would expect, Disney has amended its vaccination policy to comply with Florida law. We believe that all companies in Florida will likewise follow the law signed by Governor DeSantis this week,” the governor’s office said in a statement issued to FOX 35. “Nobody should lose his or her job over these mandates. Disney is a major employer in Florida, and we are proud that the ‘happiest place on Earth’ is here in our state. Governor DeSantis’ leadership has saved countless jobs and livelihoods before this holiday season.
“We hope Disney and any other company that has suspended or terminated workers due to vaccine mandates will consider rehiring them.”
Caturano pointed out to FOX Business that case rates in Florida have dropped since their spike this summer.
“I love that DeSantis has been pushing it, fighting for all of us. He really has been a voice for us, and I think he’s really standing behind the science,” Caturano said.
Florida, especially Miami-Dade County, still ranks among the states with the highest cases, according to the John’s Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.
COVID-19 cases in the U.S. are rising once again, particularly in cold-weather states like Michigan.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), said this week that there has been an uptick in hospitalizations among people who have been vaccinated but not boosted.