Friday, May 3, 2013 - 08:35
Arrest of Republicans Smells
Mayor Eberhard van der Laan of Amsterdam said on Thursday in the Nieuwe Kerk, that the arrest of two activists on Dam Square during the abdication and inauguration is 'a serious matter'. "It was an obvious mistake," said Van der Laan. "It was a very unfortunate combination of things. Demonstrations and freedom of expression are fundamental rights. If something goes wrong there, it hurts us very much.” Van der Laan got angry when he heard people say that the arrest happened 'intentionally'. "When I hear that, I'm furious. It can happen to us all. I make at least one error per day." Arrest Police arrested the activists, student Joanna van der Hoek of the protest group 'It's 2013' and Hans Maessen of the New Republican Society, but later admitted that this was caused by a 'mistaken identity'. The police mistook Maessen for a person who was not allowed by the police to be on Dam Square. Maessen was approached and ordered to leave the Dam Square. When he refused, he was arrested. Joanna, who was standing beside Maessen, was arrested because she started screaming. According to the police, she was arrested for disturbing the public order. "There was no consultation with the management team at the time. The two people were taken, according to procedure, to a specific building." The two wanted to demonstrate at Dam Square as individuals against the monarchy but were removed from the square just before the balcony scene with King Willem-Alexander. Van der Laan had previously said that demonstrations of individuals were permitted during the inauguration. "This really was no error of judgment," said the student Joanna van der Hoek at Pauw and Witteman about her arrest. "I didn’t even have my sign up.” Van der Hoek said that she had personally spoken with the mayor of Amsterdam and that she was allowed to express her opinion at the day of the inauguration at Dam Square. "And yet I was still taken away by force. That really was no estimation error, but it was discussed in advance. It's ridiculous if people believe the version of the police. " Maessen accuses the police of lying. "The police know me inside out," said Maessen in Nieuwsuur. Investigation The mayor announced that there would be an investigation into how it could have happened. Lawyer Bernard Tomlow, who previously assisted the student, has written a letter to the council. According to Tomlow, Joanna was intentionally removed from Dam Square by the police. Joanna had become a familiar person since she was arrested on February 1 in Utrecht while protesting against the monarchy with the sign ‘Down with the monarchy. It’s 2013!’ Moreover, it was known in advance that the student would protest again on Tuesday at the Dam Square. According to Tomlow, it was therefore out of the question that the police had made a mistake. Text of King Willem-Alexander Not everybody experienced April 30 as Joanna van der Hoek and Hans Maessen did. Mayor Eberhard van der Laan received a text message from King Willem-Alexander in which the new monarch wrote: "THANKS A LOT!!!" - with capital letters and lots of exclamation marks. The Amsterdam mayor said this on Thursday in the Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam. "It was a memorable day", wrote King Willem-Alexander. Van der Laan further said in his speech at the New Church, that all those involved might be very proud that the festivities in the capital were surrounded by a calm atmosphere, with 40 percent fewer arrests and 30 percent fewer incidents than on a regular Queen’s Day. The whole operation also remained well within the budget.