Hundreds attend Baudet election events in Helmond and Eindhoven
Thierry Baudet of far-right party FvD held two campaign events on Sunday, one in Helmond and one in Eindhoven. At both events, hundreds of people gathered, but the coronavirus measures were largely adhered to, the involved municipalities said to Eindhovens Dagblad.
The event in Helmond was held in a parking lot at the Cacaofabriek, and the one in Eindhoven in a parking lot on Stationsweg. In both cases, the municipality gave permission for a maximum of 200 people to gather. Both municipalities estimate that there were around 350 people at the events. The parking spaces in Helmond and Eindhoven were marked with green dots, where attendees could stand and maintain social distancing.
The campaign events were only to be announced to FvD members, but many people found out about them on social media.
Baudet spoke to the crowds from the campaign truck and later posed for photos with them. Baudet said that the severity of the coronavirus pandemic is overestimated. "It's fraud. There is no significant excess mortality. The risk is terribly small," he said. He called the lockdown and other coronavirus measures unnecessary and promised that the Netherlands will reopen on March 18, the day after the election, if he wins. "We're going to take back our freedom."
He also said that he does not trust the polls, which has FvD at a handful of parliamentary seats, nor does he trust the election.
The municipality in Helmond said in response that while there were more people than allowed, having a calm and orderly event was the priority. "There was always good consultation with the organization about the agreements," a spokesperson said to the newspaper.
A smooth event was also a priority for the municipality of Eindhoven. The parking lot had room for more than the agreed upon 200 attendees, a spokesperson said to the newspaper.