Netherlands

Excessive force used during protests against COVID-19 measures; journalists attacked by churchgoers

Riot police intervened to stop a demonstration against COVID-19 measures, which involved more than 1,000 people, in Museumplein in Amsterdam on 20th March 2021. Water cannon were employed in order to break up the crowd which was ordered to leave as they were breaking anti-COVID-19 measures. Police arrested 58 people and 1,400 were “administratively relocated”. In another protest, on 14th March 2021, the police deployed dogs, officers on horseback, tactical units, water cannon and fired a warning shot at a protest against COVID-19 social restrictions in the Malieveld area. Batons were used against at least one person and another was hit by a police van. Climate protesters were also detained during protests staged in February and April 2021. Read more

Excessive force used during protests against COVID-19 measures; journalists attacked by churchgoers

Journalists come under attack during violent protests over COVID-19 curfew

In response to the reinstated curfew to curb the spread of COVID-19, the Netherlands saw a new wave of protests against the government's handling of the health crisis. Protests have taken place throughout the country, with some of these turning violent. Protests in Eindhoven and Amsterdam were forcefully broken up by riot-police with water cannon and tear gas. Police say around 300 people were detained for rioting so far and 5,700 were fined for breaking the COVID-19 curfew. In a concerning development, journalists covering protests faced physical attacks. Read more

Journalists come under attack during violent protests over COVID-19 curfew

Authorities fail to protect anti-racism protesters; climate protests staged

Demonstrations by anti-racism group ‘Kick Out Zwarte Piet (KOZP)’, who protested against the tradition of Black Pete (so called Black Face), have been met by large counter protests in several Dutch cities. However authorites failed to ensure the safety of KOZP members from counter protesters. Several climate protests were staged including one at Schiphol Airport where protesters blocked both entrances by forming human chains, glueing their hands to the ground and to the revolving glass doors at the entrance. Fourteen protesters were detained by police.
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Authorities fail to protect anti-racism protesters; climate protests staged

State broadcaster removes logo from vans in the face of repeated attacks

Following an increase in threats and attacks on journalists and technical staff, the Dutch state news broadcaster, NOS, has removed its logo from broadcasting vans. Threats come from protestors who believe the traditional media are spreading false information, especially regarding COVID-19. In a separate development, a data and investigative journalist for Pointer (KRO-NCRV platform for data journalism), Jerry Vermanen reports that he has received insults and threats via twitter in relation to his work on conspiracy theories.
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State broadcaster removes logo from vans in the face of repeated attacks

Student associations more popular due to pandemic; protests against COVID-19 measures continue

At the start of the academic year, Dutch student associations have unexpectedly seen a sharp increase in new enrollments due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has increased interest in organised social activities. In a separate development, 200 people gathered outside The Hague to protest against COVID-19 measures. Police made several arrests as clashes broke out between protesers and police officers. Read more

Student associations more popular due to pandemic; protests against COVID-19 measures continue

Tension between right to protest and COVID-19 measures rises

In the months of May and June 2020, the Netherlands experienced an exceptionally high number of large demonstrations. Throughout the country there were several protests; by the Black Lives Matter movement against racism, by farmers against a new law on the content of cattle feed, and by critics of the coronavirus measures who are against the government’s lock-down policy. These mass gatherings have sparked public debate about the right to demonstrate under the prevailing social distancing rules. Critics condemn the difference in attitude of the police and the way in which authorities grant or deny demonstration permits based on the issue that is being protested.

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Tension between right to protest and COVID-19 measures rises

Protests over COVID-19 lockdown; court denies access to abortion medication via mail during pandemic

On 5th May 2020 people took to the streets in several Dutch cities to protest the confinement measures that the government has put in place to limit the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) . In doing so, they defied the temporary ban on public gatherings of more than two people. The largest demonstration took place in The Hague. However, failing to adhere to social distancing rules, police arrested 80 protesters. During April 2020, the district court in the Hague dismissed a case brought by a womens rights organisation on behalf of a mother who requested to receive medication for inducing an abortion via post. The single mother, who has a daughter displaying coronavirus symptoms, was unable to leave her house to go to an abortion clinic. On a positive note, climate activists staged a creative and symbolic protest outside The Hague, while adhering to the limitation on public gatherings. Read more

Protests over COVID-19 lockdown; court denies access to abortion medication via mail during pandemic

Right-wing populist leader attacks lottery funded NGOs

Netherland’s largest charity lottery, De Nationale Postcode Loterij, is under fire from right-wing populist party Forum voor Democratie (Forum for Democracy, FvD) for supporting what they call ‘activists and extreme-left organisations’. Party leader, Thierry Baudet has proposed several measures, ranging from giving people the choice to decide which charity their money should go to, setting up an additional lottery that runs parallel to the current one and retracting De Nationale Postcode Loterij’s permit. He also wants to change the law that allows foundations and associations to go to court with public interest matters. Read more

Right-wing populist leader attacks lottery funded NGOs

Farmers stage several protests at The Hague, proposed Dutch law threatens civic space

Farmers staged a number of protests around The Hague area due to the recommendations of a government commission which was set up to look at the problem of nitrogen emissions in the Netherlands. The committee recommended a reduction in livestock numbers in order to protect the environment from excessive nitrogen emissions. In a separate protest, police forcefully removed climate protestors from a demonstration held at Schiphol airport in Amsterdam. NGOs are concerned about the proposal of a new law that intends to make it easier to ban anti-democratic, racial and extremist organisations which pose a threat to public order. They fear that the proposed law might have negative consequences for civic space. Read more

Farmers stage several protests at The Hague, proposed Dutch law threatens civic space

Biker club "Hells Angels" banned in the Netherlands

A court in the city of Utrecht issued a decision on 29th May 2019 banning the biker club “Hells Angels” in the Netherlands. A culture of violence and violent clashes with other biker clubs have been named as the major reason for the ban. Read more

Biker club "Hells Angels" banned in the Netherlands