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Dutch police break up anti-government protest ahead of election

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By Euronews with AP
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Dutch riot police kick a man during a demonstration to protest government policies including the curfew, lockdown and coronavirus related restrictions in The Hague.
Dutch riot police kick a man during a demonstration to protest government policies including the curfew, lockdown and coronavirus related restrictions in The Hague.   -   Copyright  Peter Dejong/AP Photo
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Dutch police officers intervened to break up an anti-lockdown protest in The Hague on Sunday on the eve of an election in the country.

Police tweeted calls for protesters to return home repeatedly, stating that there were too many demonstrators even as more arrived at the protest.

An AP photographer saw a police dog bite one man as he was arrested by baton-wielding officers. Mounted police and water cannons were seen being used to clear the demonstration at a park in the city.

Police said that a video circulating of a man's violent arrest did not show the reason why, stating that he had attacked officers with a stick.

Several people carried a homemade banner emblazoned with the text in Dutch “Love & Freedom: No Dictatorship.”

Others held yellow umbrellas, a symbol carried in recent weeks by those taking part in anti-lockdown protests.

Another demonstrator carted a makeshift set of stocks with a photo of Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s head stuck in the middle and a sign saying: "If you love the Netherlands, vote them out."

Smaller rallies have been taking place in Amsterdam in the past few weeks with police called in to disperse protesters amid a growing discontent among some people over the closure of bars, restaurants and museums since mid-October.

The country has been using a curfew from 9:00pm to 4:30am to curb virus cases.

Cases remain high in the country with nearly 5,000 cases a day. The country of over 17 million has reported 16,000 deaths due to the virus.

The protest comes as a record 37 parties take part in an election for 150 seats in parliament.

A limited number of polling stations are opening Monday and Tuesday, primarily to allow people considered vulnerable to the coronavirus to vote.

Wednesday is the main day of voting and results will likely be known Wednesday night and into Thursday.