King talks with protesters

. ()

King Willem-Alexander unexpectedly spoke to protesters during his introductory tour of Bonaire. Just outside the capital Kralendijk a group Bonaireans stood with banners, expressing the desire for a new referendum on the status of the island.

Ronald Plasterk, Minister of the Internal Affairs and Kingdom Relations engaged in a conversation with them first. The king then got off the bus to also speak to the protesters. He invited them to the reception later that night to talk about the matter.

While painting the banners the night before, one protester said he expected the king to understand their concerns and sympathize with them, and that he could convey the message to Minister Plasterk.

Two years ago there was also a protest during a royal visit . Former Queen Beatrix then accepted a petition that addressed the great poverty on the island. Willem - Alexander indicated  he wanted to follow up on the subject during a next visit.

Saturday the king accepted a new petition. The protesters state, instead of going down, poverty has increased in recent years.

King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima in May 2013 (Gwendolan/Flickr)

The rest of the visit to Bonaire was neutral . Willem - Alexander and Máxima arrived in the center of Kralendijk Saturday morning . After the official welcome at the airport followed the Wilhelmina Square sports demonstrations, and the kick-off of a campaign for young people to drink more water.

The king and queen's tour also included a visit to the Addiction and Psychiatry foundation, and they had lunch with Lydia Emerencia , the Governor of Bonaire .

Bonaire is the fourth stop during their introductory visit to the Caribbean. Monday the king and queen leave for Curacao .