Thousands protest in Amsterdam against COVID-19 measures


Thousands of people in the Netherlands defied a ban on assembling and demonstrated Sunday against the Dutch government’s coronavirus lockdown measures, gathering in a central square before marching toward a park in Amsterdam.

There was a heavy police presence as people marched through streets and gathered in the square, which is bordered by museums.

The demonstration came on the same day Dutch police said they would take action to protest the increasing demands of their work. Union representatives have said riot police would continue to work, if necessary.

COVID-19 infection rates have been gradually decreasing for weeks in the Netherlands, which reintroduced lockdown measures late last year and tightened them further during the holiday season.

Police searches carried out

The municipality had designated the Museumplein area (Museum Square) as a security risk region, giving police the authority to frisk people preventatively.

(Phil Nijhuis/ANP/AFP/Getty Images)

Threat of police job action

Organizers of the demonstration called for the event to go ahead, despite Amsterdam Mayor Femke Halsema cancelling it after police unions called on officers to stop working for the day to protest long-standing workload issues.

(Sanne Derks/Getty Images)

At least 1 arrest

A small group of demonstrators briefly clashed with riot police as officers worked to clear the crowd from the square based on an order from the mayor. Reporters at the scene saw at least one person being detained.

(Peter Dejong/The Associated Press)

Signs of ‘Vrijheid’ or ‘Freedom’

A group of people in white overalls and white masks held up signs, including one, seen on the left in the photo below, that said “Where is Your Limit?” and one next to that saying “Freedom.” Other signs said, “It’s Not About a Virus, It’s About Control.”

(Peter Dejong/The Associated Press)

Rally also took place in nearby streets 

Riot police marched across the grass of the Museumplein to clear the area, sending some of the demonstrators into nearby streets. The banned demonstration was organized by the group “Samen voor Nederland” (Together for the Netherlands) to protest against the country’s COVID-19 restrictions.

(Phil Nijhuis/ANP/AFP/Getty Images)

The seven-day rolling average of new daily cases of COVID-19 in the Netherlands edged slightly lower over the past week to 85.55 new cases per 100,000 people, even as the Omicron mutation became the nation’s dominant variant.

Under the lockdown, all non-essential shops are closed, along with bars, restaurants and venues such as museums, theatres and cinemas.

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