Riots broke out in multiple regions of the Netherlands over the weekend in violent opposition to the new curfew. In Urk (a central Netherlands fishing village), things got particularly heated, with the burning of a GGD test street and an attack on the press.
When the curfew went into effect on Saturday evening, dozens of people protested in the village’s port area. Over a hundred cars were driven through the harbour honking, and the GGD test street was set on fire.
Additional police had to be deployed to the area to help manage the unrest. Following the riots, dozens of fines and an emergency warrant were issued in the town.
“It is always that small group of young people who do strange things and then gets attention,” one Urk resident told the NOS. “If we stop paying them attention it will blow over by itself. That group is just looking for sensation.”
Attack on the NOS
While filming the burnt remains of the village’s test street, a NOS team was attacked by some of the rioters. The security guard of the cameraman was pepper-sprayed in the face.
“These are all frustrated young people who can no longer go to a bar,” the resident says. “They do not think about the consequences of their actions and understand that protesting in this way is not possible.”
Ondertussen in #Urk
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“At moments like this I am ashamed to be from Urk,” says Johan van Slooten, CDA Member of Parliament. “I am also a journalist and it bugs me to the bone that such a camera crew cannot do its work here.”
The residents of Urk simply have an anarchist streak, Van Slooten continues. The close-knit Christian community has had little faith in the government since the founding of the Noordoostpolder — a municipality that entirely surrounds the Urk municipality. But according to Van Slooten, that should not be a license for destruction or violence.
Mayor: “I am filled with horror”
Urk Mayor Cees van den Bos is distressed by the actions of the villagers. “It is with pain in my heart that I address you on this day. It cannot be otherwise, because all eyes are focused on Urk.”
He posted a video on YouTube condemning the arson, violence, and destruction. (Subtitles available in multiple languages).
“A low point of those riots was the burning of the GGD test street,” the mayor says. “That was a slap in my face — has been a slap in the face of director of the GGD, but even more a slap in the face of the many employees of the GGD who work daily for the health of the residents of Urk.”
“I used the word shame on social media yesterday…but perhaps it is better expressed that I am filled with horror,” continues Van den Bos.
“This is no longer possible, a limit has been reached here.” The new emergency order will ensure that violators of the curfew will not just receive the standard €95 fine, but a criminal record, he explains. “And that alone is the correct answer.”
What do you think of the rioting in response to the curfew? Tell us in the comments below.
Feature Image: Ben Koorengevel/Unsplash