A Dutch court has sided with an anti-lockdown group known as Viruswaarheid (Virus Truth) and has ordered its government to end a night-time curfew it implemented last month.
The ruling also comes after weeks of protests and rioting – described to be the country’s worst in decades.
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According to Al Jazeera, The Hague-based Dutch Court of Justice described the 21:00 to 04:30 curfew (which was implemented on 23 January 2021) as a “far-reaching violation of the right to freedom of movement and privacy.”
It is reported that the country has not seen such a curfew since World War II.
The publication states that the curfew was implemented by using emergency powers. However, the court found that officials failed to acknowledge why it was at all necessary to use emergency powers, seeing that the infection rate was already dropping once the curfew was put in place.
BBC News reports that the country’s infection rates were slightly down, with just 2 735 new cases reported in 24 hours, although hospital admissions were up and 88 more deaths were reported.
In their ruling, the court stated, “The curfew is based on a law for emergency situations, where there is no time for debate with parliament.
“There was no such pressing need in this case. Far-reaching measures such as these need to be based on proper laws.”
The Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte responded to the ruling made yesterday by urging citizens to continue abiding by the lockdown restrictions.
He deemed the curfew “simply necessary” in order to prevent a surge of new infections, due to more contagious new mutations of the virus.
Rutte also appealed the decision, leading a higher court to rule that the curfew could stay in place pending an appeal on Friday, BBC News reports.
The publication also reports that the cabinet is urgently working on a new law to enforce the curfew, however, this could take a while.
“The curfew has been one of the most controversial and contested elements of the Dutch lockdown but the majority of the population had accepted and abided by it,” said BBC News Hague correspondent Anna Holligan.