More support for threatened parliamentarians
Parliamentary president Vera Bergkamp sees that parliamentarians face threats more often, and she wants to support these MPs better. A team that helps MPs file police reports is being expanded, and Bergkamp wants to offer parliamentarians a course to deal with a threat, she said to ANP. "That is, of course, very sad and actually not good news. We'd prefer not to need this."
According to Bergkamp, it was the case for a long time that a limited number of MPs were threatened, but the problem has become worse in recent times. "It is, of course, terrible when I look at what Geert Wilders and also Hugo de Jonge are facing. But I also see an expansion," Bergkamp said. She wants to make "a statement" to society. "Just act normal, I would say. And also think before you post anything on social media." In addition to online threats, threatening letters are also coming in.
Bergkamp was already expanding parliament's Security Authority, providing practical assistance and advice to members on security issues. She opened a vacancy. The president does not yet know precisely how many people need to be added. "We do what is necessary." The course that she wants to offer the parliamentarians will cover, among other things, dealing with threats, but also protecting private addresses, for example.
An evaluation of the safety of the parliament building is also ongoing. Since the summer, parliament has been located in a temporary building near Den Haag central station because of renovations at the old building on the Binnenhof. Whether additional security measures are needed there is still being considered.
Reporting by ANP