Dutch fireworks assoc. threatened over plans for New Year's fireworks shows
The Dutch fireworks association NVB received multiple threats after it announced plans to let associations organize local fireworks shows over New Year's. The NVB spokesperson has gone into hiding, AD reports after speaking to the association.
The NVB wants to train local associations to organize safe fireworks shows, adhering to safety regulations. This plan resulted in the association receiving dozens of threats aimed at board members and even their friends and family. NVB spokesperson Lars Onrust had threats aimed against him to such an extent that he left his home is currently staying at a friend's holiday house. Details about his past is also being shared online, including a near bankruptcy of almost 30 years ago.
"Apparently you are not allowed to say anything anymore," Onrust said to the newspaper. He added that the fact that the NVB plans include consumers still being allowed to light fireworks, only lighter and safer fireworks that cannot fall over, apparently made no difference to the enraged enthusiasts.
The tradition of fireworks over New Year's is expected to come under extra pressure this year, after a coronavirus-necessitated ban on fireworks this past New Year's turned out to have a favorable effect on the number of annual injuries, based on initial experiences. The Rotterdam eye hospital reported its quietest New Year's Eve ever. And the police responded much less to protect firefighters and paramedics against people throwing fireworks at them. A full evaluation of the effect the ban had on public safety will follow later this year.
According to the NVB, it also received some positive reactions to its plans. Carnival organizations and football clubs already showed interest in organizing their own fireworks shows.