Jan. 26 (UPI) -- A third night of unrest in the Netherlands stemming from opposition to coronavirus-related restrictions led authorities to arrest nearly 200 people, officials said.
Police made more than 180 arrests on Monday night and early Tuesday, saying that some people were taking advantage of the opposition to break the law.
Lawmakers and other officials said there has been vandalism nationwide that had little to do with opposition to curfews and restrictions. They accused gangs of taking advantage of the peaceful protests to loot and damage property.
"I had to threaten to use tear gas, which is a far-reaching measure and something I have never had to do in my career as mayor," said Rotterdam Mayor Achmed Aboutaleb, adding that gangs ransacked shops and attacked police.
Nijmegen Mayor Hubert Bruls declared an emergency for his city, which is located about 50 miles southeast of Amsterdam.
"Nijmegen is an open city," he said. "And it was not a pleasant evening for me to make such a decision here in the heart of the city. That gives me a lot of sadness."
Wytske Postma, a Christian Democrat parliament member, expressed outrage.
"Looting shops was something that happened in other countries, not here. Not in our country," Potsma said.
Monday marked the third straight night of unrest in the Netherlands. The night before, groups vandalized shops and set fires in multiple cities and police made more than 200 arrests in places like Eindhoven.
Geert Wilders, leader of the far-right Party for Freedom, called on Dutch Prime Minister Mart Rutte to deploy the military and blamed much of the rioting on immigrants.
"This has nothing to do with protest, this is criminal violence and we will treat it as such," Rutte said after similar vandalism on Sunday.