European cities hit with wave of protests against renewed Covid curbs

Police and protesters clashed in the Belgian capital Brussels, several Dutch and Austrian cities, and in the French Caribbean territory Guadaloupe.

Protesters in Brussels set fire to wood pallets, and social media images showed them attacking police vans with street signs. (AA)

A fresh wave of protests has broken out in several European cities and in some French overseas territories, as protesters reacted, sometimes violently, to moves to reintroduced coronavirus restrictions.

Police and protesters clashed in the Belgian capital Brussels, several Dutch and Austrian cities, and in the French Caribbean territory Guadaloupe on Sunday.

Europe is battling another wave of infections and several countries have tightened curbs despite high levels of vaccination, especially in the west of the continent.


In Brussels, violence broke out at a protest that police said was attended by 35,000 people.

The march, focused on a ban on the unvaccinated from venues such as restaurants and bars, began peacefully but police later fired water cannon and tear gas in response to protesters throwing projectiles.

Police told Belga news agency that three officers were injured.

Several of the demonstrators caught up in the clash wore hoods and carried Flemish nationalist flags, while others wore Nazi-era yellow stars.

The Netherlands

Demonstrators set off fireworks and vandalised property in the northern cities of Groningen and Leeuwarden on Sunday, as well as in Enschede to the east and Tilburg to the south, said police.

Authorities issued an emergency order in Enschede, near the German border, ordering people to stay off the streets, police said on Twitter.

A football match in the nearby city of Leeuwarden was briefly disrupted after supporters, who are barred from games because of the Covid restrictions, threw fireworks into the ground, Dutch media reported.


There were also fresh demonstrations in Austria, where the government is imposing a new lockdown and Covid-19 vaccine mandate.

Around 6,000 people gathered in the city of Linz in a protest organised by a new political party, a day after 40,000 marched in Vienna over the partial lockdown.

From Monday, 8.9 million Austrians will not be allowed to leave home except to go to work, shop for essentials and exercise. And vaccination against Covid-19 in the Alpine nation will be mandatory from February 1 next year.

French overseas unrest

Roads remained blocked in Guadeloupe on Sunday after protesters defying a curfew looted and torched shops and pharmacies overnight, when police made 38 arrests and two members of the security forces were injured.

The dusk-to-dawn curfew is set to last until Tuesday.

The Guadeloupe prefecture said protesters had fired on security forces and firefighters.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *