Time to accept there will be no fireworks this New Year's, Justice Min. says
It is time for Netherlands residents to just accept that this New Year's will "be different than normal" as it is a "bit of a war year", according to Minister Ferdinand Grapperhaus of Justice and Security. Banning fireworks is "really not such a sacrifice" and he has "little understanding" for "whining" about this, Grapperhaus said in an interview with AD.
The Minister is very concerned about increasing violence against first responders. According to him, this year will be "extra stressful" with fireworks being banned for the first time, bars being closed, and no parties or organised fireworks shows being allowed.
"That shameful behaviour is getting worse and involving more and more people. A jerkiness and rudeness towards emergency workers has developed," he said. Grapperhaus warned that anyone caught using violence against emergency workers will be tried "before February", if that is possible through summary proceedings.
The Minister also pointed out that the ban on community service is being expanded to include violence against aid workers. This ban, which already applies to serious crimes like sex crimes, is meant to make sure prison time is imposed. Though judges sometimes circumvent the rule by imposing one day in prison plus community service. "The amendment to the law will come too late for this New Year, but the signal is clear. I think if you treat an aid worker aggressively or even molest them, you will go to jail. Point."