Dozens arrested in The Hague anti-lockdown protests
Police in The Hague have arrested dozens of protesters who had gathered on the Koekamp near the city's Central Station on Tuesday to demonstrate against government lockdown measures to contain the spread of Covid-19 in the Netherlands. "For not listening to the police or the mayor we have arrested maybe more than 20 or 30 people. They have been taken to the police station" where they could be addressed individually and processed, a police spokesperson told NL Times.
The protest of about 200 people, which had initially been allowed to go ahead by The Hague's acting mayor, Johan Remkes, was ordered to disperse after the crowds had grown too large to adhere to the 1.5 meter social distancing rules and began spreading around the city center. Remkes had given permission for the protest to take place, even though organizers had not coordinated their demonstration with authorities in advance.
Remkes said it the demonstration would be allowed at the Koekamp only, on the condition that protestors follow police instructions, and observe the 1.5-meter rules. "The mayor has just ordered the end of the demonstration against coronavirus measures because the instructions are not being followed," the city said on social media shortly before the arrests began.
Some protestors were seen carrying Dutch flags and shouting at the police, with chants of "where's our freedom" being heard according to the newspaper De Telegraaf.
More protests against coronavirus rules in Utrecht & Amsterdam
A similar protest against the Covid-19 measures drew a crowd of over a hundred people in the village of De Meern on Monday morning. According to local news service RTV Utrecht, people had been huddling together and wearing shirts and flags stating 'Stop lockdown' during the protest.
One woman told the broadcaster that she was concerned that her posts on Facebook were often flagged as "fake news," saying she felt like the Dutch government was not being transparent about the situation in the country. She was very upset about the direction the Netherlands was headed, RTV Utrecht said.
Others were out at the site to protest against the 5G network, censorship, vaccinations, and national broadcaster NOS, RTV Utrecht said.
While police monitored the event, no fines were given and no arrests were made, a police spokesperson confirmed to NL Times.
A handful of people were also gathered in front of the National Monument on Dam Square in Amsterdam for a similar, smaller demonstration.