Eiffel Tower needs blowtorch for ice as snow blankets Europe

Workers at the Eiffel Tower used a blowtorch to melt the ice collecting on its surfaces and snow was blocking roads and halting trains and school buses Wednesday across northern France.

Amid a European cold snap, areas in Normandy and Brittany, unused to such icy conditions, were closing highways for lack of snow-clearing equipment. In parts of the Paris region, local authorities halted school buses and urged parents to keep their children at home.

Snow blanketed the French capital and froze the Eiffel Tower.

“When negative temperatures return, my floors get partially covered with ice! To get rid of it, we need to use a blowtorch because ice-control salt is too corrosive for the metal,” tweeted the monument, which has been closed to the public for months because of coronavirus restrictions.

Parts of central and northern Europe as well as Britain have been gripped by a cold weather front since the weekend. Heavy snowfall tangled traffic and stranded drivers in Germany and the Czech Republic.

Some took advantage of the frosty conditions. Cross-country skiers glided across the Charles Bridge in Prague, children sledded in the usually snowless parks of Belgium’s capital Brussels, and the deep winter freeze has reawakened the Dutch national obsession with skating on frozen canals.

Woman left with fractured skull after being blasted with water cannon during Dutch lockdown riots

A woman was reportedly left with a fractured skull after she was hit by water cannon spray during attempts by Dutch police to disperse an anti-lockdown demonstration.

Footage from Dutch organisation Ongehoord Nederland showed the woman being slammed into a building by the water cannon’s jet which had been aimed towards her and another protester.

Blood could be seen pouring down her face as she was led away.

The footage was taken on Sunday, the second of four consecutive days of unrest in the Netherlands against national coronavirus measures.

Demonstrations began the night after a further 9pm to 4.30am curfew was put in place and have at times escalated into violence, rioting and looting in cities such as Amsterdam, Eindhoven and Rotterdam.

On Wednesday, Dutch police the fourth night of the curfew passed more peacefully than the previous three, but officers still arrested 131 people, mainly for public order offenses and incitement.

Police forces have resorted to the use of water cannons and tear gas to disperse crowds.

On Tuesday, the Dutch justice minister said those arrested during the rioting would face swift prosecution.

Minister Ferd Grapperhaus said rioters would be quickly brought before the courts by public prosecutors and will face possible prison terms if convicted.

“They won’t get away with it,” he told reporters in The Hague.

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