70,000 people joined demonstration against coronavirus measures in event sector
In multiple cities across the country, people took to the streets on Saturday to protest the coronavirus restrictions the government has placed on the events sector. In total, 70 thousand people joined in the demonstrations, under the motto Unmute Us! nationwide.
They demanded that the events be allowed again at full capacity from September 1. The government announced on August 13 that festivals will not go through until at least September 20 and nightclubs must remain shut until November 1.
The protests took place in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht, Groningen, Eindhoven and Nijmegen. In the capital city alone, ten thousand people joined the protest. The municipality called for people not to come to the protest anymore.
The turnout was larger than organizer Jasper Goossen expected. This is a sign that people have had enough, according to Goossen. “The arbitrary decision-making is unacceptable and makes us angry. There are no good arguments why events cannot take place now”, Goossen said.
The events sector has been upset that the Grand Prix in Zandvoort with an anticipated 200 thousand spectators is allowed to go through but festivals are not.
The government’s line of argument is understandable according to epidemiologist Quirine ten Bosch. “A maximum of 750 people, such as is permitted now, is manageable for contact tracing”, Ten Bosch said in the NOS Radio 1 Journaal.
“One of the reasons why things went wrong in June was that the measures were relaxed too quickly”, Ten Boscch said. In June and July, coronavirus infection numbers shot up after the government allowed nightclubs to reopen and festivals to go through. “Even now the virus is still widespread, so if it is safely possible to reopen is difficult to say”, the epidemiologist said.
The entertainment and medium enterprise ID&T was “incredibly happy” with the large number of people that were present at the demonstrations. “We hope that the government followed the protest and will reconsider their decision on Monday”, ID&T operational director Rosanne Janmaat said.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times.