European protests against Covid-19 restrictions spread to Brussels

European protests against Covid-19 containment measures spread to Brussels on Sunday, when thousands of demonstrators marched in the city centre, and the protests turned into violence.

The demonstration took place the second night after the riots in the Netherlands on Saturday due to the introduction of new coronavirus restrictions. This chaos led to the arrest of dozens of people across the country. After the protesters set fires and threw stones and fireworks, the authorities deployed mounted police, police dogs and water cannons in three provinces.

As European governments stepped up their efforts, protests also broke out in Austria, Italy and Croatia over the weekend. Try to contain The sharp rise in the number of infections has put pressure on the health care system across the continent, prompting the World Health Organization to express concerns last week.

Since the beginning of this month, the rate of increase in cases in Austria, the Netherlands and Germany has been the fastest in Western Europe. Late last week, the number of cases in Germany hit a record high, and Acting Minister of Health Jens Spahn (Jens Spahn) said that the possibility of a complete lockdown cannot be ruled out.

Austria will begin a nationwide blockade on Monday, while other European countries will also implement further restrictive measures.

In Greece, people who have not been vaccinated will not be allowed to enter indoor spaces, including restaurants, cinemas, museums and gyms. Vaccination certificates over 60 years of age are only valid for seven months, and then people need to receive “booster” injections to maintain effectiveness.

In Slovakia, the Prime Minister of the country, Edward Hegel, announced that from Monday, “the people who have not been vaccinated will be blocked”.

Belgium has one of the highest vaccination rates in Europe, but with the surge in cases, Belgium is re-implementing restrictions. West Flanders, the country’s most vaccinated province, has one of the highest infection rates in the country. Last week, the government expanded the rules for working from home and tightened restrictions on people who have not been vaccinated.

On Sunday, about 35,000 people took to the streets of the Belgian capital, initially protesting peacefully near the EU headquarters. When the police deployed water cannons, tear gas and mounted police in response to a group of projectile-throwing people, the demonstrations broke out in violence.

The unrest in the Netherlands is due to plans to restrict the use of Covid Passes to people who have been vaccinated or have recovered from Covid-19. Previously, it also covered people who tested negative. The ban on the celebration of fireworks on New Year’s Eve also provoked anger.

The new restrictions are expected to last for the first three weeks.

According to an official statement, five policemen were injured and seven were arrested in The Hague on Saturday night. Police charged the protesters on horseback, and a mob threw stones at an ambulance passing by. Riots occurred in two towns in the southern province of Limburg and at least 13 people were arrested. Riots were also reported in the northern province of Flevoland.

Riots broke out in Rotterdam on Friday night and the police opened fire on hundreds of protesters.The authorities defended the use of force, and the mayor of the city, Ahmed Aboutaleb (Ahmed Aboutaleb) accused the crowd “A violent carnival”According to the police, three people believed to have been hit by police bullets were still receiving treatment in the hospital on Sunday morning.

In Austria, thousands of people took to the streets of the capital Vienna on Saturday night to protest the state blockade and mandatory vaccination plan. The police set the number of demonstrators at 40,000.

Austrians will be required to work from home, and non-essential shops will be closed until at least December 12. These measures will be reviewed within 10 days.

“The atmosphere of some demonstrators has become enthusiastic, which has led to repeated clashes with the police. In front of the palace. [Heldenplatz] The police were forced to use pepper spray on radical militants,” the police said in a statement. They said about 1,300 military officers from all over Austria were sent to assist.

Thousands of people also marched in Zagreb, the Croatian capital, to oppose the new vaccination regulations for health workers.

In Italy, hundreds of people took to the streets of Rome to protest the introduction of “green passes” needed to enter places, workplaces and public transportation.

Additional reporting by Eleni Varvitsioti in Athens

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