Tuesday, 19 August 2014 - 11:06
ISIS protesters want rally in minority neighbourhood
Pro Patria, the anti-IS demonstration group in The Hague, has not been allowed by Mayor Jozias van Aartsen to march through the city's Schilderswijk neighborhood on the 20th of September. Because of this, the group wants to move the protest to the nearby Transvaal neighborhood instead, De Volkskrant reports. On their Facebook page, Pro Patria (For the Fatherland) explains that the Mayor has not placed a veto on this neighborhood, "and this is one of the two neighborhoods where the Islamic State (IS, previously IS) supporters have a strong presence." Last week, Mayor van Aartsen imposed a ban on any IS-related demonstration in the Schilderswijk due to the tensions between groups, and the fact that these demonstrations have led to violence in the neighborhood. On the 10th of August, counter-demonstrators threw rocks at the Pro Patria marchers and were arrested. According to De Volkskrant, two of these are still in custody. For Pro Patria, a second occurrence such as this one will make it "clear who the aggressors are", a spokesperson says. There are around 16,000 residents living in the Transvaal neighborhood, which is about half of the number of Schilderswijk residents. The neighbors are very close to each other and have similar internal issues. There is a lot of poverty, and there are also many residents of non-Dutch origins. Transvaal residents are negative about their neighborhood. They complain about degradation, nuisance, and threat and do not feel safe. The neighborhood often sees street robberies and pick-pocketing. The mayor's decision to ban demonstrations has come under a lot of criticism. For a Mayor who speaks of the right to freedom of speech, this decision seems unnatural, and many argue that it is simply against the law. "Everyone has the right to demonstrate", says professor of criminal law Paul Bovend'Eert. "The Mayor can't just proclaim an integral demonstration ban in a certain area. He should judge per individual case if there is a reason to ban the demonstration." A spokesperson for the Mayor does not know if there is a plan to involve more neighborhoods into the ban. According to the spokesperson, the Mayor will speak to organizations to understand what they want. "On the basis of that, it will be decided what demonstrators can and are allowed to do."