Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Dutch lower court strikes down curfew

Covid: Dutch crisis as court orders end to Covid curfew | BBC News:

Feb. 16, 2021 - "A court in The Hague has told the Dutch government that an overnight curfew to reduce the spread of coronavirus should be lifted, ruling that it breaches the right to free movement. The court said the 21:00 to 04:30 curfew was imposed by an emergency law when there was no 'acute emergency'. Later, a higher court ruled that the curfew could stay in place pending an appeal on Friday....

"The earlier court ruling - which said the curfew should be lifted immediately - was a victory for campaign group Viruswaarheid (Virus Truth) and a major upset for the government. The government quickly asked for the decision to be suspended until an appeal was heard at the end of the week. An appeals court later granted that suspension. 

"Prime Minister Mark Rutte described the ruling against the curfew as a setback and urged people to continue to follow the restrictions, which he said were 'simply necessary'. The Dutch cabinet is urgently working on a new law to enforce the curfew, but that could take time....

"France has had a nightly curfew from 18:00 but has stopped short of imposing a third lockdown. Greece has also imposed curfews, as have Spain and Italy.

"The Dutch measure, which came into force on 23 January, was intended to reduce movement, particularly among young people, but triggered days of rioting in a number of towns and cities. The Netherlands had not seen a curfew since Nazi occupation in World War Two.

"Although the Netherlands initially avoided strict measures, a lockdown was brought in last December and, after the cabinet decided on a curfew in January, MPs backed it days later amid fears that the UK, or Kent, variant would increase infections. The government resigned before last month's curfew decision and now has a caretaker role ahead of elections next month."

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