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Anti-lockdown protesters in Netherlands spar with police

Anti-lockdown protesters in Netherlands spar with police
© Getty

Dozens of people were reportedly arrested in two Dutch cities after anti-lockdown protesters clashed with police forces on Sunday.

The Associated Press reported that at least 55 people were arrested in the cities of Eindhoven and Amsterdam at two illegal demonstrations that quickly grew violent as protesters attacked officers with rocks.

The country is in the middle of a lockdown to halt the spread of COVID-19 that includes a 9 p.m. daily curfew and restrictions on occupancy levels in businesses and public spaces. The country has now seen two consecutive weekends of violence perpetrated by anti-lockdown protesters.

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Several vehicles were set on fire near the main train station in Eindhoven, according to German broadcaster Deutsche Welle, which also reported that police, including some on horseback, used tear gas, water cannons and police dogs to quell the violence.

The Netherlands's Justice Minister Ferd Grapperhaus told the AP in a statement that the violence "has nothing to do with demonstrating against corona[virus] measures."

“This is simply criminal behavior; people who deliberately target police, riot police, journalists and other aid workers," said Grapperhaus.

Sunday's violence followed the burning of a COVID-19 testing facility in a small town northeast of Amsterdam by several young people, according to the AP.

The Netherlands has seen just under 967,000 total cases of coronavirus since the beginning of the pandemic, according to Johns Hopkins University, and has seen rates of new cases fall following a spike in December that reached nearly 10,000 new cases per day.