After three days of violent demonstrations over COVID-19 curfews in the Netherlands, officials have expressed concerns the country could be headed towards civil war, The Sun reported.
People gathered in Amsterdam and across the Netherlands to protest the new curfews for the third night in a row, vandalizing and looting businesses, setting fire to cars, and injuring 10 police officers in the process. Over 470 people have been arrested, according to Reuters.
“I am afraid that if we continue down this path, we’re on our way to civil war,” said John Jorritsma, the Mayor of the fifth largest city in the Netherlands. During an impassioned press conference, the mayor called the rioters “Scum of the Earth” and said he wept along with his city, according to The Sun.
In a tweet, the Netherlands Prime Minister said, “The riots have nothing to do with protesting or fighting for freedom. We must win the fight against the virus together, because only then can we regain our freedom.”
Vanochtend spraken @ferdgrapperhaus en ik met @POL_Korpschef Van Essen over de inzet van de politie. De politie heeft ons grootste respect en krijgt onze onvoorwaardelijke steun. Dit criminele geweld moet stoppen.
— Mark Rutte (@MinPres) January 26, 2021
This is the first time since WWII that the Netherlands has had a mandatory curfew, according to Reuters.
“[Genuine protestors] should now be more likely to think twice: it’s now a bit naive to say, ‘come and demonstrate,’” top Dutch Criminologists Henk Ferwerda said, according to The Guardian, adding that those who persist following the curfew will be “the ones who are purely there for the violence.”
“They should receive the punishment they deserve.”
Shops in the Netherlands are boarding up, and some businesses are sending staff home early, as the Netherlands are bracing for the fourth night of protests this Tuesday, according to Reuters.