WATCH Dutch riot police fire water cannon to disperse rally against coronavirus restrictions, dozens arrested
Only a small demonstration was permitted by the local authorities, but large crowds defied the restrictions and flocked to The Hague’s Malieveld, a large grass field in the city center traditionally used for mass gatherings.
Police responded with force, using truck-mounted water cannon to push the demonstrators back, while officers on horseback charged at the crowd.
At one point a police bus appeared to be driving through the field to scare away protesters.
There have been reports of direct clashes between angry protesters and riot police.
ME ging op de vlucht voor honderden supporters en demonstranten. pic.twitter.com/LVufTMk5Cd— Bob van Keulen (@BobHGL) June 21, 2020
The city authorities initially banned the anti-lockdown rally after concluding that too many people would show up and social distancing would not be observed, according to local media.
In a surprise change of heart, Mayor Johan Remkes announced that a small time-limited protest would be allowed, if the number of demonstrators were kept relatively low. However, at least 2,000 participants showed up, and police moved in to clear the area.
On Saturday, the same site was used for a “Black Lives Matter” event, which went ahead without police interference.
Twitter users have been asking why the police chose to crack down on Sunday’s rally, but took no action the day before.
Als in NL linkse activisten van #BlackLivesMatter, #Antifa of #ExtinctionRebellion demonstreren, dan handhaaft de politie niet. Maar als een demonstrante uit een #antilockdown-protest de politie met bloemen tegemoet treedt, dan wordt zij door agenten met stokken geslagen. pic.twitter.com/BovFZO5YdG— Percolator 💎 (@Percolator_HNJ) June 21, 2020
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