“We’re on our way to civil war” says Eindhoven mayor after Dutch riots

The mayor of Eindhoven has warned the Netherlands is heading for “civil war” following a weekend of anti-lockdown rioting wrecked cities across the country.

Nearly 200 were arrested as rioters clashed with police, looted stores, overturned vehicles and set fires in retaliation against the restrictive measures implemented to tackle Covid-19.

A new nationwide curfew – the first since the Second World War – came into effect on Saturday forcing the Dutch to stay inside between the hours of 9pm and 4.30am.

Dissenters torched a coronavirus testing centre in the Dutch fishing village of Urk on Saturday evening and reportedly threw fireworks at police in protest against the curfew.

The violent scenes escalated in in the city of Eindhoven as hundreds of rioters torched bikes and cars, broke into shops and threw bricks at police.

“My city is crying, and so am I,” Eindhoven Mayor John Jorritsma told reports in a press conference on Sunday evening. He called the rioters “the scum of the earth” and warned that “if we continue down this path, we’re on our way to civil war.”

Riots have continued in the week with police responding to calls of unrest in the second-largest Dutch city of Rotterdam.

Leader of the Party for Freedom, Geert Wilders tweeted a video of youths overturning a police van with a message for prime minister Mark Rutte: “Deploy the army and clean our streets”.

The Dutch government resigned on January 15 over a scandal that saw many families wrongly accused of child welfare fraud. A general election is scheduled in the country for March 17.