Thousands of people in the streets in Australia, scenes of riots in the Netherlands, violence and vandalism in the French West Indies: opponents shout their anger at the anti-Covid measures adopted to stem the resurgence of the pandemic.
On Saturday in Australia, they were thousands of anti-vaccines marching in Melbourne and more than 10,000 in Sydney, to protest against the restrictions imposed in this country where life has returned to near-normal for the 85% of adults who are vaccinated .
In Melbourne also took place on Saturday one of the first counter-demonstrations, in support of anti-Covid measures, which brought together some 2,000 people.
Demonstrations that took place in peace, unlike the violent incidents that occurred Friday evening in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, or in Guadeloupe, in the French Antilles.
“Everything that has been done (by the authorities) has been done to save lives. Of course, it’s not funny, and it’s been hard for some, but it’s a global pandemic. do something else? ”a protester told AFP.
In Rotterman, the Dutch police ended up shooting at demonstrators who became rioters, injuring at least two people. Opposite, throwing stones, the fire of a police car, fireworks rockets enamelled this night of chaos.
The police reported dozens of arrests and seven injured, “including police”, without further details. “Warning shots were fired several times. At one point the situation became so dangerous that officers felt compelled to shoot at targets,” police said.
According to Dutch public television NOS, two people were injured by the gunfire.
Rotterdam Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb called the incidents an “orgy of violence”. And faced with this “very serious” situation, the local authorities banned gatherings in the area.
Demonstrators were protesting against health restrictions and government measures to restrict access of unvaccinated people to certain locations.
The Netherlands were the first in Western Europe to reintroduce partial containment last week with a series of health restrictions, notably affecting the restaurant sector, to cope with a surge in Covid-19 cases – more than 21,000 new cases registered on Friday.
After the violence of the night, the organizers of a demonstration scheduled for this Saturday in Amsterdam announced its cancellation. “Last night all hell broke loose in Rotterdam,” United We Stand Europe said on its Facebook page, adding that keeping the protest in Amsterdam “didn’t feel right to us”.
In January, the Netherlands experienced its worst riots in four decades, including in Rotterdam, after a curfew came into effect.
– Violence in the Antilles –
On the other side of the Atlantic, the mobilization of opponents of the health pass and the compulsory vaccination of nursing staff, launched four days ago by a collective of union and citizen organizations, turned violent on Friday in Guadeloupe. , one of the two main islands of the French Antilles.
Four buildings in Pointe-à-Pitre, the capital which has many wooden houses, went up in smoke, according to the firefighters, while around the roadblocks the demonstrators faced the police with stones or even mortar fire.
The prefect announced on Friday the establishment of an immediate curfew between 6:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. local time, “given the ongoing social movements in the department and acts of vandalism”, until Tuesday. It also banned the sale of gasoline in jerry cans.
In front of the city hospital, a barrage of demonstrators prevents the entry of vehicles other than ambulances but filters the personnel authorized to enter, according to the deputy director, Cédric Zolezzi.
According to him, the lack of personnel is aggravated by “a wave of sick leaves”, “on union instruction”, and for example obliges to cancel chemotherapy in particular.
“The culprit is the one who made the vaccination obligation,” retorts Sandro Sormain, deputy secretary of the UTS-UGTG union center.
New demonstrations are planned for Saturday in Austria, where the government is preparing to reconfigure its entire population on Monday, and that planned for Breda, in the south of the Netherlands, is for the moment maintained.