The Dutch government announced on Monday to extend the curfew until March 2, an anti-Covid-19 measure at the origin of the worst riots in the country in the last forty years. Its three-week extension “is necessary because new, more contagious variants of the coronavirus are gaining ground in the Netherlands,” the government said in a statement after an inter-ministerial meeting.
In effect from 9 p.m. to 4:30 a.m. since January 23, the first curfew in the Netherlands since World War II was originally scheduled to end on February 10.
Primary schools nonetheless reopen
According to the government, more than 95% of the Dutch respect the curfew, as well as other measures to fight against Covid-19 such as limiting the number of visitors to one person per household per day as well as the ban on flights from certain countries.
The introduction of the curfew on January 23 led to widespread riots across the country, with police using water cannons and tear gas to disperse protesters, including in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, and Eindhoven. The police arrested more than 400 people. Prime Minister Mark Rutte called the rioters “criminals”, while one of his ministers preferred the expression “scum”. Several people convicted of violence during these riots were sentenced to short prison terms or community service.
Last week, The Hague extended other restrictions until March 2, including closing non-essential bars, restaurants and shops, even though it allowed most primary schools to reopen on Monday.