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Protesters set a car on fire during a protest against new coronavirus measures in Eindhoven, Netherlands. Photo: ROB ENGELAAR/ANP/AFP via Getty

A weekend of anti-curfew protests carried into Monday as crowds of residents rallied against new coronavirus restrictions and clashed with police in several Netherlands cities.

Why it matters: Dutch police have described the protests, many of which quickly turned into riots, as the worst unrest in four decades, the BBC notes. The country has confirmed nearly a million cases and over 13,500 deaths from COVID-19, per Johns Hopkins.

Catch up quick: In the past three days, riot police and protesters have clashed in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Amersfoort and Geleen as demonstrations turned violent.

  • Images and videos on social media show looting in Den Bosch and a mob attack on a press photographer in Haarlem.
  • A coronavirus testing center in Urk was set on fire Saturday, the BBC reports.
  • Police used water cannon and tear gas against demonstrators in Rotterdam.
  • Unknown perpetrators lit fires on the streets of The Hague, while some men threw rocks and fireworks.
  • Police have arrested more than 200 people, the BBC reports.

What they're saying: "It's unacceptable. All normal people will regard this with horror," Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on Twitter. "What motivated these people has nothing to do with protesting, it's criminal violence and we will treat it as such."

The big picture: The Dutch government introduced a curfew, a first in the country since World War II, after the National Institute for Health warned of new outbreaks due to the new variant from the U.K.

  • Violators of the curfew, which stretches from 9 p.m. to 4:30 a.m. and went into effect Saturday, would face fines.
  • The Netherlands was already under strict lockdown after coronavirus cases surged across Europe in December. Bars, restaurants, schools and non-essential shops remain closed.
  • The government has also banned flights from the U.K., South Africa and South America in an attempt to prevent variants from reaching the country.
In photos: Curfew protest unrest across the Netherlands
A damaged store near the train station in Eindhoven. Photo: Rob Engelaar/ANP/AFP via Getty Images
Police intervene with water cannon during a protest in Eindhoven. Photo: Stringer/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
People loot a shop during clashes between police and a large group of young people on Beijerlandselaan in Rotterdam. Photo: Marco De Swart/ANP/AFP via Getty Images
Dutch policemen arrest a man during clashes with protesters in Rotterdam. Photo: Marco De Swart/ANP/AFP via Getty

Go deeper

Jan 30, 2021 - World

Science helps New Zealand avoid another coronavirus lockdown

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (L) visits a lab at Auckland University in December. Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images

New Zealand has avoided locking down for a second time over COVID-19 community cases because of a swift, science-led response.

Why it matters: The Health Ministry said in an email to Axios Friday there's "no evidence of community transmission" despite three people testing positive after leaving managed hotel isolation. That means Kiwis can continue to visit bars, restaurants and events as much of the world remains on lockdown.

Updated 15 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: Fauci: "Confident" Omicron cases will peak in February — FDA OKs antiviral drug remdesivir for non-hospitalized COVID patients — Walensky: CDC language "pivoting" on "fully vaccinated".
  2. Vaccines: Annual COVID vaccine preferable to boosters, says Pfizer CEO — Team USA 100% vaccinated against COVID ahead of Beijing Olympics.
  3. Politics: Arizona governor sues Biden administration over COVID funds tied to mandates — Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" on anti-mask school policies.
  4. World: Beijing Olympic Committee lowers COVID testing threshold ahead of Games — Beijing officials urge COVID-19 "emergency mode" before Winter Olympics — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults.
  5. Variant tracker

Europe's energy reliance on Russia is a crucial shield for Putin

Photo: Pavel Bednyakov/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images

Cracks in the NATO alliance regarding sanctions for Russia should President Vladimir Putin order troops into Ukraine are in large part based on energy supply concerns.

Why it matters: Russia holds tremendous leverage over some European countries because it provides roughly 40% of Europe's natural gas supply. In Germany, this figure is greater than 50%.