Amsterdam police have arrested 143 protesters during an illegal demonstration in Museumplein in the city centre.
Authorities estimate around 2,000 people flocked to the event to protest against the current coronavirus measures, Prime Minister Mark Rutte (who resigned his cabinet on Friday), the media, and vaccines.
The Amsterdam municipality did not approve the Museumplein location for the event, which was organized by ‘Nederland in Verzet’ (translation: Netherlands in Resistance). The Westerpark was offered as an alternative location with a cap of 500 people, but was declined by event organizers.
Demonstrators showed up to the original Museumplein location anyway, ignoring repeated warnings by police officers on location. The protesters also refused to practice coronavirus measures, such as keeping 1.5 metres distance from each other or wearing a face mask.
Vandaag naar de #demonstratie op het #Museumplein in #Amsterdam geweest. Zelf nog nooit een demonstratie gezien dat zo uit de hand liep als hier. De beelden spreken voor zich. pic.twitter.com/jP6CHiXzTV
— Sebastiaan Barel (@fotograafLdmVbg) January 17, 2021
Police and protesters clash
In response, an emergency warrant was issued to break up the event. Police deployed water cannons and dogs.
Protesters fought back by throwing fireworks and stones. Some carried melee weapons or wore fighting gloves. The municipality says that about 200 to 250 people were “clearly out for the confrontation.”
Museumplein staat vol🌟🥳💪🙏 NU pic.twitter.com/4a2huHQ0zW
— Jaycee ❤️🙏 (@Jaycee__1973) January 17, 2021
“We are the Netherlands,” the demonstrators chanted, emphasizing that they had come to protest “out of love.”
Of the 143 protesters arrested, 15 remain in jail facing charges of open violence. The remainder were arrested for failure to follow a police order and will likely be fined.
— Marcus🌱 (@Twoat) January 17, 2021
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Feature Image: @Twoat/Twitter