Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte on Monday slammed three nights of unrest over anti-Covid measures as “pure violence’ by “idiots” and vowed to prosecute those responsible.
The Netherlands was taking stock after a weekend that saw dozens of violent protests across the country against the government’s anti-coronavirus measures.
At least 130 people have been arrested, four people wounded and several police officers injured since the violence first erupted on Friday, when a protest in the port city of Rotterdam turned into running battles between police and rioters.
The unrest in Rotterdam and in several cities around the country “is pure violence under the guise of protest,” Rutte told Dutch media on Monday.
“I understand that there is a lot of tension in society because we have been dealing with the scourge of corona for so long,” Rutte said.
He said he would always defend the right to protest, but “I will never accept that idiots use pure violence,” he said.