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Thousands protest over Dutch coronavirus restrictions

Protest against COVID-19 measures, in Utrecht
People protest against new measures to combat a record increase in infections caused by coronavirus (COVID-19), in Utrecht, Netherlands, December 4, 2021. REUTERS / Eva Plevier

December 4, 2021

UTRECT, Netherlands (Reuters) – Thousands of people gathered in the central Dutch town of Utrecht on Saturday to protest against the novel coronavirus restriction measures that took effect last weekend.

Protesters marched through the streets of the town carrying banners that said “Medical freedom now!” and wave the Dutch flag. A dense police presence was seen along the route of the operation.

Many protesters have denounced what they see as growing pressure from the Dutch government to get vaccinated if they want to participate in normal society.

“We are against not having the freedom (to decide what happens to) your body,” Marit van Hunen told Reuters.

This is the first major protest in the Netherlands against the measures, including the night-time closure of bars, restaurants and most shops to prevent a record wave of COVID cases. -19 is threatening to overwhelm the country’s healthcare system.

Two weeks ago, the Netherlands saw violent protests after the government announced plans to ban most unvaccinated people from entering bars, restaurants and other public places. These plans face widespread opposition in parliament, including from parties in the ruling coalition, and have yet to be put into action. [L1N2SD0ZM]

(Reporting Eva Plevier and Hilde Verweij; Writing by Stephanie van den Berg; Editing by Alex Richardson)

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DUSTIN JONES

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