Amsterdam prepared for up to 18,000 at BLM protest tonight
Up to 18 thousand demonstrators can take part in a protest against racism and police brutality in the Nelson Mandela Park in Amsterdam on Wednesday afternoon, while still adhering to social distancing. To make this as easy as possible, the city marked around 18 thousands spots in the park where participants can stand at a distance of 1.5 meters from others, the Amsterdam triangle of mayor, police and prosecutor said in a statement. .
Following last week's Black Lives Matter protest on Dam Square, which got so crowded that social distancing proved to be impossible, Amsterdam stressed to the organizers of Wednesday's protest that all participants must adhere to the measures in place to curb the spread of the coronavirus. This includes keeping 1.5 meters apart, avoiding physical contact, and promptly following police instructions.
"The right to demonstrate should not be misused to limit other's people's rights. Amsterdam therefore does not tolerate physical confrontation or punishable statements," Amsterdam mayor and chair of the local security region Femke Halsema said in a letter to Joyce Wildschut of Black Lives Matter. "I emphasize that failure to comply with a regulation or instruction is a criminal offense and is also a basis for ending your demonstration (early)."
Halsema called on all participants in the demonstration to adhere to the coronavirus measures. "Stay home if you have symptoms," the triangle said. And if the park turns out to be too crowded, go home and follow the demonstration live on television or online. "In the period after the demonstration, be extra alert to symptoms." If you develop symptoms, stay at home and call the GGD hotline to make an appointment for a coronavirus test.
"Amsterdam stands for the fundamental right of freedom of expression and the right to demonstrate," the Amsterdam triangle said. "However, should it become impossible for the participants to keep 1.5 meters apart due to the excessive crowds, the triangle can decide to end the demonstration early. This will be communicated on the spot and via the social media channels of the municipality."