The ostensible trigger for the outbreak of riots across Europe over the weekend was protest against new anti-Covid measures ranging from lockdowns to mandatory vaccinations. But many of the grievances go back further and are far more complex than anger at sudden restrictions by governments fearing a fourth winter surge in the pandemic.

For many of the governments it has been a spectacular u-turn. The Minister of Health in Denmark announced last August that “Covid-19 is no longer a critical threat to society.” Last week Denmark announced new lockdown provisions, including the need to show a vaccination pass at  bars and pubs and sports meetings of more than 2,000.

For three nights in a row cities and villages across the Netherlands saw rioting, stoning and burning. This included a rock being thrown at an ambulance carrying a patient in the Hague, and a primary school burned down in the southern town Roosendaal. In Enschede the biggest city facing the German border, the mayor imposed an overnight curfew after rioting and burning on Saturday night.