The police fired multiple warning shots to disperse the crowds, causing several injuries.

Police fired water cannons to disperse demonstrators who lit fires and set off fireworks.
Police fired water cannons to disperse demonstrators who lit fires and set off fireworks. (AP)

Police have fired warning shots and injured an unknown number of people in Rotterdam after the protests against coronavirus measures turned violent.

Police said in a tweet that “there are injuries in connection with the shots” during the violent unrest. Riot police used a water cannon in an attempt to drive hundreds of rioters from a central street in the port city.

Photos in Dutch media showed at least one police car ablaze and another with a bicycle smashed through the windshield.

Local political party Leefbaar Rotterdam condemned the violence in a tweet.

“The center of our beautiful city has this evening transformed into a war zone,” it said. “Rotterdam is a city where you can disagree with things that happen but violence is never, never, the solution.”

Dozens arrested

Police said they arrested dozens of rioters and expected to detain more. They said about seven people were injured, including police officers. They did not give further details.

People gathered to voice opposition to government plans to restrict access to indoor venues to people who have a "corona pass," showing they have been vaccinated or have already recovered from an infection.

The pass is also available to people who have not been vaccinated, but have proof of a negative test.

The country has seen record numbers of infections in recent days and a new partial lockdown came into force a week ago.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies