A'dam mayor wants independent investigation into anti-racism rally; No coronavirus infections yet

Thousands in Amsterdam turn out in support of Black Lives Matter after the death of George Floyd in America. June 1, 2020
Thousands in Amsterdam turn out in support of Black Lives Matter after the death of George Floyd in America. June 1, 2020NL Times / Byron MühlbergNL Times

Mayor Femke Halsema of Amsterdam wants an independent party to investigate a crowded demonstration against racist police brutality on Dam Square last week Monday. So far none of the demonstrators who were at the protest reported to health service GGD with coronavirus symptoms,.

Thousands of people gathered on Dam Square to protest against racism and show support for demonstrations against anti-black violence in the United States. The municipality and police estimate that some 5 thousand people attended the demonstration. But other estimates go up to 10 thousand or more. Partly because of this, Halsema wants an external party to investigate the incident, the office of mayor and aldermen said in a letter to the Amsterdam city council, responding to questions. 

GGD Amsterdam also announced that no demonstrators have reported having symptoms yet, but added that the incubation period for the coronavirus is up to two weeks - so that might still happen. It is also impossible to know who attended the demonstration, people must indicate that themselves, the GGD said. And protesters may get tested in a different region. "It may then take longer before that information is also known to the GGD Amsterdam," the Amsterdam office of mayor and aldermen said. 

According to the city, no estimate can yet be made about the health consequences and degree of coronavirus contamination. It is not known how many sick people were at the demonstration. "If infected persons were present at the demonstration, they could pose a risk if other people were in their immediate vicinity for a long time," the office said."Most people will have had brief exposure at most and are at low risk of contamination, if infected individuals were present."

The fact that the demonstration took place outside,where the sun and the wind quickly got rid of droplets, and that many demonstrators wore masks also lowered the risk of contamination. 

The GGD issued extra advice calling on demonstrators to be extra alert to their health and any symptoms they may develop. This advice was also explicitly given to the organizers of the demonstrations, so that they can pass it on to all demonstrators they have contact with. 

Halsema and her aldermen will keep the city council informed if there are any further developments, they said.