Coronavirus: Netherlands curfew remains in place for now | News | DW | 16.02.2021

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Coronavirus: Netherlands curfew remains in place for now

The Dutch government has scrambled to keep a curfew after a court struck it down. After an emergency injunction, the curfew will remain in place until at least Friday.

The Netherland's Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, talks to the media

Mark Rutte, Prime Minister of the Netherlands, is committed to keeping a controversial night-time curfew in place

The legal status of the Netherlands' nightly curfew was thrown into confusion on Tuesday when a district court ruled that the government had failed to justify the use of emergency powers. 

The government then requested and was granted an emergency injunction order, in which a three-judge appellate panel agreed to suspend the lower court's earlier ruling.

The emergency ruling means that the 9:00 pm curfew remains in place. 

Anti-lockdown and curfew protesters in Eindhoven

The Netherlands was rocked by nights of violent anti-lockdown and anti-curfew riots in January

Anti-lockdown group lashes out over higher court's ruling

The higher court's decision stated that the interests of the state in fighting the virus "carry greater weight" than those of the anti-lockdown group, Viruswaarheid (Virus Truth), behind the earlier lawsuit. Willem Engel, the founder of Viruswaarheid, told the judge he was making a "big mistake" by upholding the curfew.

Violent anti-lockdown and anti-curfew protests rocked the nation last month. Tensions remain high throughout the country. 

Dutch police break up anti-lockdown protest

Curfew to prevent spread of British variant

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte maintains that the curfew is needed to prevent a feared surge in infections from the now dominant and more infectious British B.1.1.7 variant of the coronavirus.

"We're very worried about it," he said. "I want to ask everyone in the country to keep to the curfew," he added.

The curfew will remain in force pending the outcome of the government's appeal scheduled to be heard on Friday.

mb,wd/aw (Reuters, AFP)