Multiple anti-lockdown demonstrations were observed in Europe over the weekend. The largest one was seen in the Austrian capital, Vienna, Saturday, where at least 10,000 people marched against new coronavirus restrictions. Then thousands more were seen in Amsterdam, the Netherlands' capital, denouncing new restrictive measures against their freedoms imposed by the government.
On Saturday, the demonstration in Vienna was mostly peaceful, even with a massive crowd. As for protests in Amsterdam, well, many clashed with riot police in an unauthorized demonstration.
According to Reuters, the unauthorized gathering was around the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum art galleries on Sunday.
People were waving flags and carrying signs the read: "Freedom: stop this siege" and singing "What do we want? Freedom!".
Many of the anti-lockdown protesters wore no masks nor practiced safe social distancing measures, such as standing six feet apart from one another.
Museumplein, Amsterdam - Protest against the lockdown pic.twitter.com/n7yyZnGJT7— Happy Harry (@HappyHarryMedia) January 17, 2021
Amsterdam protesting lockdowns and govt corruption...hey 🇨🇦 take notes pic.twitter.com/ZDSrEkUM8S— 🇨🇦 in birth 🇺🇸 in 💗 (@kisslady69) January 17, 2021
Reuters noted the original protest on Museum Square was denied a permit. Still, demonstrators showed up anyway, angered that their freedoms have been whittled away under the guise of coronavirus restrictions.
Dutch Police Spray Watter Cannon At Protesters
The crowd became more irate throughout Sunday afternoon as they clashed with riot police.
Thousands have gathered in #Amsterdam to protest the national lockdowns. Riot police used water cannons to disperse protesters. Authorities extended #COVID19 restrictions last week, including the closure of schools and non-essential stores. pic.twitter.com/zXJMQliY2j— CGTN Global Watch (@GlobalWatchCGTN) January 18, 2021
In the early days of the pandemic, the Dutch government was more reluctant than most neighboring countries to impose coronavirus restrictions. But during a dark virus winter, the government closed schools and shops in December, along with extending lockdowns by at least three more weeks.
Increased social restrictions have been the breaking point for many in the Netherlands.