Rotterdam Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb has described an anti-lockdown protest in his city as an “orgy of violence.” The Dutch demonstration devolved into a violent riot that saw police open fire on protesters.

Aboutaleb described the events of Friday night as an “orgy of violence,” after protesters packed Rotterdam’s central Coolsingel shopping street to voice their opposition to an ongoing partial lockdown, a ban on New Year’s Eve fireworks displays, and the possibility of a two-tiered system of freedom in the Netherlands, one of liberty for the vaccinated and restrictions for those without the jab.

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A police squad car is seen engulfed in flames during a protest in Rotterdam, Netherlands, November 19, 2021.
2 wounded after shots fired at Covid protest in Netherlands

The protest soon got out of hand, and police said on Saturday that 57 people were arrested. Protesters were seen torching police vehicles and launching fireworks at police, who shot at them in response.

Aboutaleb said that the cops had been “forced” to use their weapons. “On a number of occasions the police felt it necessary to draw their weapons to defend themselves,” he told reporters. “They shot at protesters, people were injured.”

Police say at least seven people were injured. Two of these injuries were caused by police bullets, and the victims are still in hospital. One officer was hospitalized, while several others were treated at the scene for minor injuries.

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