Rioting youths in Dutch village torch coronavirus testing center

National News
Virus Outbreak Netherlands

A police officer takes images of a torched coronavirus testing facility in the Dutch fishing village of Urk on Jan. 24, 2021, after it was set on fire the night before by rioting youths protesting on the first night of a nationwide curfew.

URK, Netherlands — Rioting youths protesting on the first night of a Dutch curfew torched a coronavirus testing facility and threw fireworks at police in a Dutch fishing village.

Police said Sunday they fined more than 3,600 people nationwide for breaching the curfew that ran from 9 p.m. Saturday until 4:30 a.m. Sunday and arrested 25 people for breaching the curfew or for violence.

Video from the village of Urk, 80 kilometers (50 miles) northeast of Amsterdam, showed youths breaking into the coronavirus testing facility near the village’s harbor before it was set ablaze Saturday night.

The police and municipality issued a statement Sunday expressing their anger at rioting, “from throwing fireworks and stones to destroying police cars and with the torching of the test location as a deep point.”

“This is not only unacceptable, but also a slap in the face, especially for the local health authority staff who do all they can at the test center to help people from Urk,” the local authorities said, adding that the curfew would be strictly enforced for the rest of the week.

On Sunday, all that remained of the portable building used to administer coronavirus tests was a burned-out shell.

Police in Amsterdam also were bracing for another protest Sunday, sending officers to a square where demonstrators clashed with police a week ago. The city’s municipality designated the square a “risk area,” a move that gave police extra powers to frisk people.

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