The Hague (AFP) – Rotterdam police used water cannons and made 64 arrests after violent clashes between fans ahead of the behind-closed-doors Eredivisie game between Ajax and Feyenoord on Sunday.

Most of those detained were charged with possession of smoke bombs.

Police used water cannons to disperse “several dozen” rioters near the De Kuip stadium in the port city. 

The match was being played without fans due to new Covid-19 restrictions imposed on Saturday although police said the teams were met by “a lot of people” when they arrived at the stadium.

“A lot of smoke bombs were set off” at that time, they added. 

According to the Dutch news agency ANP, a group of 100 to 150 people threw smoke bombs and bottles at the police. 

The match ended in a 2-0 win for Ajax. 

Feyenoord have a reputation for having some of the most violent supporters in Europe. Known hooligans were identified during the riots that hit the city in January and at the end of November. 

The Netherlands went into a new lockdown on Sunday for the Christmas holiday period, in an attempt to stop the fifth wave of Covid and the strong progress of the Omicron variant.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced on Saturday that all non-essential shops, cultural and entertainment venues must shut until January 14, while schools will close until at least January 9.