Amsterdam lockdown protest
© AFP / Robin van Lonkhuijsen
Riot police clashes with protesters during a demonstration in the Museumplein town square in Amsterdam, Netherlands on January 17, 2021.
Thousands of anti-lockdown protesters took to the streets of Amsterdam, decrying restrictive measures against the coronavirus. The unauthorized gathering was met with a strong riot police force.

The anti-lockdown protesters gathered in the center of the Netherlands capital on Sunday, despite failing to get authorization for the rally from the authorities.


Comment: Would permission have even been granted? The UK's police chief said himself that, in his opinion "now is really not the time" to exercise ones right to protest and freedom of speech.


The protesters, who largely lacked face masks and did not exactly observe social distancing rules, decried the restrictive coronavirus measures, carrying banners reading "Freedom: stop this siege" and chanting such slogans as "What do we want? Freedom!" While the Netherlands was initially slower than some countries to respond to the pandemic, it turned to harsher restrictions in December as Covid-19 cases mounted.


Comment: Pretty much every European country fell in line with orders, eventually.




The gathering was met with a strong law enforcement presence, including police officers in full riot gear and mounted units. Police demanded the protesters disperse, but the crowd failed to comply, with some protesters launching fireworks.


Police then tried to disperse the crowd by force, with some groups of protesters engaging in scuffles with officers.


At least one water cannon vehicle was deployed to back up the police units. Footage from the scene shows the vehicle dousing protesters at point-blank range as they try to block the advance of the police.