Curfew in the Netherlands to stay in effect

Senate codifies it as part of the country's coronavirus control regulations, despite protests

Photo: EPA Rioters battle Dutch police over COVID-19 lockdown

The Dutch government notched up a victory in its bid to retain a contentious coronavirus night-time curfew that has sparked protests and a legal challenge, dpa reported.

The Senate, the upper house in the national parliament, late Friday overwhelmingly passed a new emergency law that would codify the curfew as part of the country's coronavirus control regulations. The measure already passed the lower house on Thursday.

The law comes into force this weekend and ensures that the curfew is now here to stay - despite a legal effort this week that nearly got it scrapped.

A court earlier this week overturned the 9 pm to 4:30 am curfew that was implemented in January in an attempt to keep coronavirus infection rates down.

Citizens may not leave their homes without an important reason during curfew hours.

Ruling on a case brought by groups opposed to pandemic health regulations, it said the emergency conditions the government cited in ordering the curfew simply don't exist.

However, the curfew remained in place pending an appeals decision from the country's Supreme Court. The top court has yet to rule, but the legislation passed by parliament now renders the verdict moot.

There were riots in several cities in the initial days of the curfew, the most severe restriction introduced so far during the pandemic in the Netherlands.

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