Dutch protest
© Jeroen Jumelet / ANP via AFP
Amsterdam police deployed two water cannons and officers in riot gear to prevent an unpermitted protest against Covid-19 restrictions, ultimately making the crowd leave the area.

The anti-lockdown rally gathered on Saturday in Amsterdam's Museumplein, a green open space named for the three national museums located in the area. The protest took place without a permit from the municipality, so the police declared Museumplein a security risk area, threatening a possible crackdown on those gathering there. This didn't stop a large crowd of activists from coming and mingling with ordinary people, who frequently hang out at the museum neighborhood on weekends.

Some of the protesters were dressed in medical garb or military uniforms, though more exotic outfits were also seen.

Many brought colorful umbrellas, which proved to be wise considering that the police used a pair of water cannons to shoot over the protesters, apparently nudging them to leave. The crowd chanted slogans like 'Love, freedom, no to dictatorship' and sang 'You'll Never Walk Alone'.

The police came prepared for a possible riot, armed with shields and protective gear, and brought police dogs with them. The situation, however, remained mostly peaceful, and the protesters ultimately left the area and walked away en mass.

The police said they took action after a group of 500 people came together and refused to leave as instructed. The number is the upper limit allowed for mass gatherings in the Netherlands at the moment, provided participants keep at least 1.5 meters from each other.

Similar anti-lockdown protests were scheduled for Saturday in other nations, including Sweden, Germany, the UK, and others.

German police clash with protesters at Kassel demonstration against Covid-19 restrictions

Multiple scuffles broke out on the streets of Kassel, Germany as Covid-19 lockdown skeptics and counterprotesters gathered, and police deployed mace and batons to contain the demonstration.

Protests against Covid-19 restrictions in multiple major cities across the country were planned for Saturday, with the biggest occurring in the central German city of Kassel.

According to local media reports, citing police, at least 10 thousand people showed up for a rally there, many of them refusing to wear masks.

The marching protesters chanted "Wir sind das Volk" ("We are the people") at one point, a slogan commonly used in the past during anti-communism demonstrations in East Germany.

Protesters also carried signs reading 'Corona Rebels' and 'End the Lockdown.'

Counter-protesters also took to the streets and footage from the event shows scuffles breaking out between the two groups, as well as pushing matches between demonstrators and police officers wearing riot gear. Police revealed they used pepper spray, batons, and even a water cannon to keep the protest contained as people tried breaking through barriers in place and began throwing objects like water bottles.

"This is not what a peaceful protest looks like," North Hesse police tweeted about the protesters' actions.

Protests in Berlin and Munich were reportedly much smaller, with only a few dozen people gathering in the capital, despite a police presence of nearly 2,000 waiting for them.

Germany is currently facing another surge in Covid-19 cases, with 16,000 new ones being reported on Saturday, along with over 200 deaths. German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned this week that efforts to ease back lockdown restrictions could need an "emergency brake" amidst the rise in cases.