Police chief done with "constant police bashing"
National Police chief Henk van Essen is done with the "constant bashing" of the police, he said to the Telegraaf in response to criticism on how the police acted during incidents around a protest against coronavirus measures on the Malieveld in The Hague on Sunday. Some 400 people were arrested.
"Whatever we do, there is always someone who thinks it should have been different," Van Essen said to the newspaper. "We acted too softly. Or too harshly. An opinion about our performance is quickly passed, often on the basis of fragmentary images. That affects me. It does no justice to my police officers. To our police officers."
Police union ACP is concerned that the authorities are "losing their grip on society completely," chairman Gerrit van de Kamp said to newspaper AD. According to the union, videos shared on social media put the police in a bad light. Officers are fed up and some are considering quitting their jobs, Van de Kamp said.
The police previously said that they asked people in many ways and multiple times to leave the Malieveld on Sunday. "If, despite everything, you choose to ignore all requests and orders from the police, you end up running the risk of being confronted with violence in the mass of the action," the police said, according to NOS. According to the police, the demonstration itself was quiet and orderly, but disturbances were caused afterwards by football supporters who had mixed with the demonstrators. Prime Minister Mark Rutte said that "coked-up hooligans" abused the demonstration to seek conflict with the police.
After consulting with the security regions on Monday, Minister Ferdinand Grapperhaus of Justice and Security said that he is "very much behind" the way the police acted during the demonstration on Sunday. He was annoyed by the way in which opinion was swayed on social media with "clipped videos" and complaints that the police did not behave properly, he said, according to NOS. Grapperhaus pointed out that the police are trained to deescalate situations.
Grapperhaus said that he supported The Hague mayor Johan Remkes' decision to allow the demonstration at the last minute, despite previously banning it. The Minister pointed out that the football supporters only turned up after some time and started seeking confrontation with the police. "People with wrong intentions stuffed things up," Grapperhaus said. "I have zero sympathy for that."