Tens of thousands of demonstrators in Vienna, new riots in the Netherlands, scenes of looting and vandalism in the French West Indies: the protest hardens in the face of the anti-Covid measures adopted to stem the resurgence of the pandemic in Europe.
Protests against health restrictions turned into riot again on Saturday night in the Netherlands, especially in The Hague where several police officers were injured, the day after violence in Rotterdam (southwest) where 51 people were arrested and three gunshot wounds.
In The Hague, the city where the Dutch government is based, police officers in riot gear charged groups of demonstrators who threw stones and various objects at them in a working-class neighborhood, and used a water cannon to extinguish bicycles in traffic light at a busy intersection. Five police officers were injured and at least seven people arrested.
Violence also broke out in Urk, a small Protestant town in the center of the country, and in several localities in the province of Limburg (south).
The Netherlands reintroduced partial containment last week to cope with an outbreak of Covid-19 cases, with a series of health restrictions affecting in particular the restaurant sector, which is due to close at 8:00 p.m. The government is now planning to ban certain places for the unvaccinated, including bars and restaurants.
“People are protesting against the confinement and the 2G” which allows the only vaccinated (“geimpft”) and cured (“genesene”) to access certain public places, told AFP Ferdi Yilmaz, owner of a pizzeria in The Hague. “They are angry,” “he added, accusing police officers of dragging several people out of his shop, smashing the glass on the front door and hitting him on the hand.” raison”.
In Austria, more than 40,000 people gathered in Vienna on Saturday, a stone’s throw from the former Hofburg Imperial Palace to denounce “the corona-dictatorship” and “fascism”, two days before the entry into force of ‘a new confinement until December 13.
Among those calling for “resistance”, Katarina Gierscher drove six hours from her province of Tyrol to come and demonstrate. “It is not normal that we are deprived of our rights”, deplores this 42-year-old professor, who regrets that “the government (wants) to divide us”.
– Compulsory vaccination –
In a Europe that has once again become the epicenter of the epidemic, Austria, where cases have reached unprecedented levels since the spring of 2020, is the first country to completely confine its population again but several other countries have announced a tightening of restrictions these last days.
Austria also became the first EU country to make vaccination compulsory for the entire population, from February.
The demonstration in Vienna took place in general calm, apart from a few throws of cans and smoke, but under close surveillance by the police, who feared the arrival of identitarians, neo-Nazi militants and hooligans and feared the repetition of the incidents that had occurred. Friday night in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
In January, the Netherlands had already seen its worst riots in four decades, including in Rotterdam, after a curfew came into effect.
A thousand demonstrators marched for similar reasons in Copenhagen, and a few hundred in Stockholm.
– Violence in the West Indies –
On the other side of the Atlantic, the mobilization of opponents of the health pass and the compulsory vaccination of nursing staff, launched by a collective of trade union and citizen organizations, is turning violent in Guadeloupe, one of the two main islands of the French West Indies.
Despite the curfew imposed by the authorities, pharmacies and telephone shops were the target of rioters. “The night was very agitated,” a police source told AFP, reporting “live ammunition on a police vehicle” in the town of Gosier and “on mobile gendarmes” in Pointe-à-Pitre .
According to the Pointe-à-Pitre prosecutor’s office on Saturday evening, sixteen people were arrested and five of them were placed in detention, one of which was for “willful violence with a weapon on a person holding public authority”.
In Australia too, 10,000 people marched in Sidney and several thousand in Melbourne to protest against compulsory vaccination, which is only required in certain States and Territories for certain professional categories, even though life has returned to near-normal in the country. country.
In Melbourne, one of the first counter-demonstrations also took place, which brought together 2,000 people in support of anti-Covid measures.