Dutch police investigate ‘arms used’ after restaurant smashed

Image copyright Reuters Image caption The temporary restaurant, restaurant Nederdalur boullet, was demolished in Rotterdam

Dutch police say they are investigating reports of injuries following confrontations during an anti-lockdown protest at a restaurant in Rotterdam.

Dozens of officers were involved in the incident, which left witnesses saying they thought they had been hit by live ammunition.

The rioters were seeking to prevent the “security refuge” of the restaurant, which was being used for evacuations in a shooting incident.

Around a dozen people were arrested.

Footage from the scene showed a long tail of smoke rising as officers fired warning shots.

Diko, a Dutch nationalist party, claimed dozens of people, some from their party, had been injured by police.

Police said the protesters were dispersing peacefully when the situation became “more and more aggressive” and they were forced to fire warning shots in an attempt to regain control.

Image copyright EPA Image caption Officers with riot shields stood guard in front of the restaurant

“Several people suffered minor injuries,” spokesman Jean-Paul Biedermann said, without specifying who the injuries were sustained by.

“There’s no confirmation of where the shots were fired.”

Mr Biedermann said police would continue to investigate but added: “There’s no basis to point to individual use of firearms during the dispersal of the protest.”

He said officers were in possession of some property belonging to the protesters, but declined to confirm whether it belonged to anybody from the political or far-right movement.

Image copyright EPA Image caption Some observers suggest police fired rubber bullets in the melee

Witnesses told Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad there had been explosive devices thrown at police officers.

Peter Van Zuid, who had the misfortune to witness the shooting event, said: “I do not know who the rioters were. I do not know anything about who was also in there. I was just at the door and could not see anything.”

Protesters chanted slogans in favour of retaining weapons that can be used in times of crisis, such as handguns and rocket launchers.

Police asked the protesters to retreat in an earlier statement.

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