December 7, 2022

UK reports 40,004 new cases and 61 new deaths; The demonstration in Brussels turns violent


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Riot police stand in a street in The Hague during a protest against the Dutch government’s measures against the coronavirus Photograph: Danny Kemp / AFP / Getty Images

Thousands of people took to the streets of cities in Europe and Australia as anger mounted over new Covid restrictions imposed against a resurgent pandemic, according to an AFP summary.

And Dutch police faced a second night of riots – this time in The Hague – after the violence of the previous night in the port city of Rotterdam.

Clashes erupted after a day of mostly peaceful protests elsewhere in the Netherlands, with rioters throwing stones and fireworks at police and setting bicycles on fire. Several people were arrested.

Europe is grappling with a new wave of infections and several countries have tightened restrictions, with Austria on Friday announcing a partial nationwide lockdown – the most dramatic restrictions in Western Europe in months.

The Netherlands returned to partial lockdown last Saturday with at least three weeks of sidewalks, and now plans to ban unvaccinated people from entering certain places, the so-called 2G option.

Several thousand protesters angry at the latest measures gathered in Amsterdam. Another thousand people marched through the southern town of Breda near the Belgian border, carrying banners with slogans such as “No Lockdown”.

Organizers said they opposed Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s plan to exclude the unvaccinated from bars and restaurants.

“People want to live, which is why we are here,” said organizer Joost Eras.

But “we are not rioters. We come in peace, ”he said, distancing himself from the chaos of the previous night in Rotterdam, in which police said they fired both warning shots and targeted shots and used guns. water cannons.

In Austria, around 40,000 people came to demonstrate in the center of Vienna, near the Chancellery, responding to a call from the far-right party FPO.

They held up banners denouncing the “Corona dictatorship” and slamming the “division of society”.

“It is not normal for the government to deny us our rights,” said Katarina Gierscher, a 42-year-old teacher, who traveled six hours to attend the rally.

Some protesters wore a yellow star indicating the words “unvaccinated,” a nod to the Star of David that many Jews were forced to wear during the Nazi era.

Austrian Interior Minister Karl Nehammer expressed his indignation, saying in a statement that he “insults the millions of victims of the Nazi dictatorship and their families”.

As of Monday, 8.9 million Austrians will not be allowed to leave their homes except to go to work, buy basic necessities and exercise. The restrictions will initially last 20 days with an evaluation after 10 days.

Vaccination against Covid-19 in the Alpine nation will be mandatory from February 1 of next year.

Thousands of people also marched in the Croatian capital Zagreb and in Denmark, a thousand people protested against the government’s plan to reinstate a Covid pass for public servants going to work.

“Freedom for Denmark,” shouted some of the protesters at a rally in Copenhagen organized by the radical group Men in Black, which thinks that the Covid-19 is only a “scam”.

In Australia, around 10,000 people marched in Sydney and there were also protests in other major cities against the vaccination mandates applied to certain professions by state authorities.

“In Australia, where a bigoted sect runs our health bureaucracies, they say it’s OK” to immunize children, right-wing politician Craig Kelly told the Sydney crowd to cheers.

On Saturday, France sent dozens of elite forces to its Caribbean island of Guadeloupe after arson and overnight looting in the overseas territory, despite a newly imposed nighttime curfew.