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A protestor in Dublin. Photo: Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Several European cities saw anti-lockdown protests on Saturday, with some leading to clashes between demonstrators and police.

Why it matters: As case numbers and variants in Europe surge, the vaccine rollout has been sluggish and countries have gone back into lockdown. The protests are part of the rising frustration with COVID-19 restrictions on the continent.

Details: Around 20,000 people filled the streets of the German city of Kassel to protest the lockdown, Deutsche Welle reports.

  • Several protestors attacked members of the security forces, which then deployed water cannons and pepper spray against the crowd.
  • In Berlin, 500 demonstrators came out, though they were ultimately outnumbered by police.
  • The demonstrations come after Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Friday that Germany would have pull an "emergency brake" on easing restrictions, AP reports.

Thousands of protestors also turned out in London on Saturday to protest the months-long lockdown, the same day as Members of Parliament called for lifting the restriction on those demonstrating, NPR reports. Because of COVID-19 restrictions, it is illegal to gather to protest.

  • Demonstrators clashed with police, with Scotland Yard ultimately reporting 36 arrests, most for breaches of COVID-19 safety restrictions, per The Independent.

Smaller protests also took place in other parts of Europe. In Helsinki, 400 maskless people demonstrated against the imposed restrictions, according to France 24.

  • In Vienna, approximately 1,000 protestors gathered near the city's central train station to protest. Several were reprimanded by the police for not wearing masks and not maintaining social distancing.

Go deeper

Updated 3 hours ago - World

Reports: Up to 17 U.S. missionaries kidnapped in Haiti

Haitian soldiers guard the public prosecutor's office in Port-au-Prince earlier this month. Photo: Richard Pierrin/AFP via Getty Images

Children were among up to 17 American Christian missionaries and their relatives kidnapped by a gang in Haiti on Saturday, the New York Times first reported.

Details: The missionaries had just left an orphanage and were traveling by bus to the airport to "drop off some members" and were due to travel to another destination when the gang struck in Port-au-Prince, Haitian security officials said, per the NYT.

4 hours ago - World

Melbourne, "world's most locked-down city," to lift stay-at-home orders

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews during a news conference in Melbourne, Australia, on Sunday. Photo: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

Melbourne's stay-at-home orders will end five days earlier than planned, officials in Australia's second-biggest city announced Sunday.

Why it matters: The capital of the state of Victoria has had six lockdowns totaling 262 days since March last year. That means Melbourne spent longer under lockdown than "any other city in the world" during the pandemic, Reuters notes.

Venezuela suspends talks with opposition after Maduro ally extradited to U.S.

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela, in June. Photo: Gaby Oraa/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A key ally of Venezuela's President Nicolás Maduro was extradited from Cape Verde to the U.S. on Saturday to face money laundering charges in Florida, Bloomberg first reported.

Why it matters: Venezuela's government called off negotiations with opposition officials that were scheduled for Sunday in Mexico in response to the extradition of Alex Saab, a Colombian businessman and financial fixer for Maduro. Security forces placed six U.S. oil executives under house arrest hours later, per AP.