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Violent lockdown protests break out in Europe

Demonstrators light flares in Vienna, Austria, at a protest over COVID-19 restrictions and vaccine mandates on Friday. Associated Press/Photo by Lisa Leutner

Violent lockdown protests break out in Europe

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte decried thousands of “idiot” rioters who fought police in Rotterdam on Sunday. The crowd of mostly young adults protested a partial coronavirus lockdown and a ban on New Year’s Eve fireworks by throwing explosives at police. The country is investigating whether police opened fire on the rioters, 49 of whom have been arrested. In Brussels, an estimated 35,000 attended a Sunday march to the European Union headquarters. A group of several hundred threw objects at authorities, attacked cars, and lit small fires. Police fought back with tear gas and water cannons. A crowd of 40,000 gathered in Vienna on Saturday, just before a strict lockdown went into effect, and police used pepper spray to disperse groups throwing beer bottles. 

Who is protesting? In Brussels, the demonstrators included concerned citizens, LGBT activists, and some members of neo-Nazi organizations. Groups in Ireland, Italy, Croatia, and Switzerland have also taken to the streets saying ongoing COVID-19 restrictions amount to discrimination, infringement on religious liberties, and government overreach. 

Dig deeper: Read Steve West’s report on healthcare vaccine mandates for U.S. workers.

Carolina Lumetta

Carolina is a reporter for WORLD Digital. She is a World Journalism Institute and Wheaton College graduate. She resides in Harrisburg, Pa.



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