Mandates in Europe take a Violent Turn

By Kudrate Barobhuiya 

Most of the world by December 2021 has been through at least one lockdown or faced social restrictions. Unfortunately, a new variant of COVID-19 called Omicron has been placed under the “variants of concern” by the World Health Organization and is quickly spreading across the globe. The Reuters COVID-19 tracker is reporting Europe with one million new COVID-19 cases every three days. To address this issue, many European nations are placing new vaccine mandates and issuing lockdowns and other social restrictions. However, public support for new lockdowns is low due to already going through lockdowns in late 2020 and early 2021. 

In the Netherlands, the region is going back into another three-week lockdown. On top of the lockdown, new restrictions for unvaccinated people were put into place. Demonstrations against the Dutch government’s new coronavirus mandates were held by citizens at the Hague. The demonstration turned into rioting with police officers utilizing water cannons to disperse the crowds. Rob Iddiols from CNN reported, “Five police officers were injured during the clashes at The Hague, with one taken to hospital suffering concussion and two suffering hearing damage from loud fireworks, police said in a statement.”

Earlier in the week of November 14th Dutch public broadcaster, NOS mentioned violent riots in the port city of Rotterdam where police officers fired gunshots to disband demonstrators. Following the riots, the Dutch police had arrested 51 demonstrators.

The Prime Minister of Greece in a televised address informed the nation that unvaccinated people cannot enter any closed space venues. Greece is also mandating COVID-19 vaccinations for people over 60 and for those who do not comply, a monthly fine of $112 will be issued. 

Austria became the first country in the European Union to require its citizens to be fully vaccinated, resulting in thousands taking to the streets to protest. Germany is following suit by mandating a lockdown for its unvaccinated people with talks of requiring the vaccine for all citizens.France has also placed new restrictions on its public. The French government issued health passes which are required to enter places such as restaurants, bars, and sports arenas. In response, the French public held demonstrations where they blocked roadways and set cars on fire. French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said, “At least 29 people were detained by authorities overnight.”

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