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Around seven people have been injured, including on the side of the police," a police statement said.

Police spokesperson Patricia Wessels told the Reuters news agency : "We fired warning shots and there were also direct shots fired because the situation was life-threatening.

"We know that at least two people were wounded, probably as a result of the warning shots, but we need to investigate the exact causes further."

Law enforcement issued an emergency ordinance in the city, shutting down public transport and ordering people to go home.

Riot police also used a water cannon in an attempt to drive hundreds of rioters from a central street in the port city.

Videos posted on social media showed burnt-out police cars and rioters hurling rocks at police in the city's main shopping street.

Dutch police said units from around the country were brought in to "restore order".

rotterdam police added : "dozens of arrests have now been made, it is expected that more arrests will follow.

last week, the dutch government announced a three-week partial lockdown, in which restaurants and shops must shut early.

Daily infections in the Netherlands have remained at their highest levels since the start of the pandemic.

in january, rioting broke out in rotterdam and other dutch cities after the government announced a curfew in an attempt to rein in soaring coronavirus infections.

The government has said it wants to introduce a law that would allow businesses to restrict the country's coronavirus pass system to only people who are fully vaccinated or have recovered from Covid-19, excluding people who test negative.

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

The Rotterdam mayor, Ahmed Aboutaleb, described the riots as an "orgy of violence".

Earlier on Friday the government banned fireworks on 31 December for the second straight year.

the ban is intended "extra strain on healthcare" the government said.

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

"The police have felt the need to draw a police weapon in the end to defend themselves," he told reporters.

A partial lockdown came into force a week ago after the country saw record numbers of infections.

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