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Angry citizens who hate the system

Widely seen across social media platforms recently have been short video clips of apparent violence from police officers towards members of the public in the Netherlands. David Walsh, writing for Euronews, takes a look at the possible causes.

Described as the worst violence to have erupted in the Netherlands in more than four decades, the riots in Dutch towns and cities this week have become a seminal moment in the country's bid to contain the spread of coronavirus. Sparked by the approval of an overnight curfew by the Dutch parliament, which came into force on Saturday, violent protests rocked Amsterdam and Eindhoven before spreading in the subsequent days to Rotterdam, The Hague, Den Bosch, Gouda, Amersfoort, Haarlem and further afield.

Organising on social media apps, the predominantly young protesters rampaged through city streets vandalising and looting shops, throwing stones and fireworks at police, and, in some instances, setting cars on fire. In the town of Urk, a coronavirus testing facility was torched. In Enschede, stones were thrown at a hospital. With their number counting far-right extremists, hooligans, COVID-19-deniers and political protesters, there doesn't on the surface appear to be a unifying motivation behind the riots. Or is there?

"There is a connection and that is distrust in the government, hate against the government, and even more broadly, hate and distrust when it comes to all sorts of societal institutions," Dr Jelle van Buuren, an associate professor at the University of Leiden and an expert in security issues and conspiracy theorising, told Euronews.

"This distrust, this hate, is being fuelled over the years by a diversity of grievances, anger, bad experiences and motivations. And that is why it is so hard to group this phenomenon. It is really eclectic".

Handling of the pandemic

While most of those who rioted over the last few days have been branded "shameless thieves" by Rotterdam's mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb, some of those participating were first and foremost protesting their legitimate concerns surrounding the country's handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Following its collapse earlier this month, the scandal-hit government of prime minist