Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte on Monday slammed rioters after their protests against new coronavirus restrictions turned violent, Reuters reported.
“This was pure violence disguised as protest,” Rutte said after violence broke out in response to new COVID-19 regulations.
“There is a lot of unrest in society because we have been dealing with the misery of corona for so long. But I will never accept idiots using pure violence just because they are unhappy,” he said, according to Reuters.
He said he supports the right to protest, but added that what he “will never accept is that idiots use pure violence against people … who keep this country safe.”
Protesters flooded the streets of Rotterdam Friday night and police fired warning shots while also using water cannons on protesters who were throwing rocks, Reuters reported.
More than 100 people were arrested in connection to the violence over the weekend, the report said.
Rutte added that the police and the judiciary will do everything they can to find the rioters.
Mass protests have broken out all over Europe as many are objecting to renewed restrictions and a vaccine passport mandate the European country is implementing to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The Dutch are protesting the vaccine mandate, which requires proof of a negative test or vaccination against COVID-19 to enter indoor restaurants and businesses. Protesters are also objecting to a partial lockdown in the country that forces businesses to close early.
Officials ordered the renewed restrictions after confirmed cases of COVID-19 are up more than 2,000 in the past seven days.
Dutch health authorities on Monday reported the second highest increase in cases since the start of the pandemic as the country reported 23,000 new coronavirus infections in 24 hours, Reuters said.
Thousands of protesters also took to the streets of Belgium, Austria and Germany to oppose the new COVID-19 regulations and vaccine mandates.
Dutch prime minister rips ‘idiots’ after another night of rioting – The Hill