Arrests and clashes as thousands protest against Dutch Covid measures

Thousands attended the protest in Amsterdam despite authorities banning the event

Police officers stand guard as opponents of restrictions imposed in the Netherlands to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) protest despite a ban by local authorities, in Amsterdam, Netherlands, January 2, 2022. Reuters
Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

Live updates: follow the latest news on Covid-19 variant Omicron

Thousands of protesters defied authorities and gathered in the Dutch capital Amsterdam on Sunday to oppose coronavirus restrictions, leading to clashes and arrests.

"This is Holland! Power to the people!" chanted one protester.

The demonstrators rallied in one of the city's main squares, despite Dutch authorities banning the protest beforehand.

Clashes with police left several people with minor injuries and security forces made arrests, public broadcaster NOS reported.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced a lockdown one week before Christmas on December 25 in response to a fresh wave of Covid infections fuelled by the Omicron variant.

Non-essential shops, restaurants, bars, cinemas, theatres and museums remain closed until January 14 and schools until January 9.

Only two people may meet outdoors, with an exception for burials, but no travel restrictions were imposed.

Updated: January 02, 2022, 7:38 PM