Amsterdam: Thousands of people in the Netherlands defied a ban on assembling and demonstrated Sunday against the Dutch government’s coronavirus lockdown measures, gathering on a central square before marching toward a park in Amsterdam. A small group of demonstrators briefly clashed with riot police as officers worked to clear the crowd from Museum Square based on an order from Amsterdam Mayor Femke Halsema. Reporters at the scene saw at least one person being detained.

The local government had outlawed the protest, saying police had indications some demonstrators might be planning to attend “prepared for violence.” The municipality later issued an emergency order for people to leave  square, and riot police marched across grass to clear area, sending the demonstrators into nearby streets.Before officers moved in, some participants unfurled a banner that read, “Less repression, more care” near the Van Gogh Museum. 

A group of people in white overalls and white masks held up signs, including one that said: “It’s not about a virus, it’s about control” on one side and “Freedom” on the other. One person walked through crowd carrying a “Trump 2024” flag.

There was a heavy police presence on square and in nearby streets. The municipality designated area as a security risk region, giving police authority to frisk people preventatively. After marching through city,  demonstrators began gathering at a western Amsterdam park for a rally of populist Forum for Democracy party. The demonstration came on same day Dutch police said they would take action to protest increasing demands of their work.

Union representatives have said riot police would continue to work, if necessary.

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