The Hague, Netherlands , Authorities asked Monday for patience and calm in the face of protests over tough COVID-19 measures.
For those who used the protests as a means of inciting violence, Mark Rutte, the Dutch Prime Minister, simply called them "idiots."
Protest marches were held from Zagreb, Rome, and Vienna, with thousands of people participating. All had one message from a coronavirus-weary crowd: We're fed up!
"You shouldn't be able to work wherever you want, but you should be able to go where you want to go. Eveline Denayer was among the 35,000 people who attended Sunday's march through Brussels.
She said, "We live in Western Europe. We just want to be liberated, the way we were before."
On Monday, European Union officials and government leaders made it clear that they were not able to return to the days of old and that violence at marches was counterproductive.
Many of the protests are directed at politicians who promised vaccinations would bring about freedom. The contagion-prone delta variant has forced EU governments to impose new restrictions and, in certain countries, impose tougher restrictions on non-vaccinated people.
Stella Kyriakides, EU Health Commissioner, stated that "the rising numbers are unfortunately fueling vaccination hesitancy and we all have to take a firm Stand against this." She said that the spike was largely to blame for those who refuse to get a shot.
Kyriakides stated that "now we face a pandemic mainly driven unvaccinated."
Officials say that breakthrough infections and deaths occur among the vaccinated, but at a lower rate.
Rutte condemned the violence in Rotterdam, across the Netherlands, and elsewhere in the country after protests against coronavirus in Brussels and Rotterdam descended into violence. This was amid simmering anger over lockdown measures that were put in place to control infection rates.
Rotterdam police used live fire late Friday to disperse rioters. Four people were also shot. In both countries, almost 100 people were taken into custody.
Rutte stated, "I am aware that there are many tensions in society since we have been dealing the misery caused by coronavirus so long." Rutte stressed that the rioters were something entirely different. They produced "a pure explosion violence directed against our police and against our firefighters against ambulance drivers."
At the end of the Brussels protest march scenes were ugly as well. Rioters pelted police officers, who used tear gas, water cannons and other tactics to disperse the crowds.
"Our goal today, is to defeat the virus. "Please, we don't want to be incited by small groups which would make it into a battle against each other," Alexander De Croo, the Belgian Prime Minister, said.
Protests are being held as a fourth wave infected Austrians lock down and impose new restrictions in many European countries on everything from drinking at bars to working in the office.
The violence in Holland occurred a week after a partial lockdown in the Netherlands, and following an announcement by the government that it would ban fireworks on New Years Eve to reduce the pressure on emergency rooms. Youths set off fireworks at police officers in riots throughout the country.
The EU argued that there is scientific evidence that increasing vaccinations will contain the crisis and prevent more deaths.
Stefan De Keersmaecker, spokesperson, said, "You know the three words very clearly -- vaccinate. vaccinate. vaccinate."