Dutch aldermen call for action after threats send mayor into hiding
The Dutc Aldermen's Association is calling for harsher action against people who intimidate politicians in the Netherlands following revelations that Emmen's deputy mayor Bouke Arends had to go into hiding abroad due to threats on his life. Threats against politicians are "the order of the day", Jeroen van Gool of the Association said to the Telegraaf.
Late last week Arends announced that he spent three weeks hiding in Great Britain a few months ago. The police advised him to do so due to death threats made against him. The threats have to do with the authorities closing down the local clubhouse of motorcycle gang No Surrender, but do not seem to come from the motorcycle club itself, according to RTL Nieuws.
"I could not imagine that someone would want to kill me", Arends said, according to RTL. "At the same time you wonder: what did I end up in? Angriness, frustration and despondency are all in you. But you try to stay positive." He is now back in the Netherlands, but the threats are still impacting his life. "You scan the environment. For example, when you walk into the supermarket. Then I first have a good look around before buying groceries."
Despite threats to politicians being very common, it hardly ever comes to trial, Van Gool said to the Telegraaf. This is partly due to the fact that politicians don't always press charges. But Van Gool wants to see harsher action against people who threaten politicians. He calls on the cabinet to implement summary justice for this type of crime. In this way both victims and perpetrators will immediately see what happens when charges are pressed, he said to the newspaper.