Five arrested during intense Covid measures protest near press conference
Police arrested at least five people who participated in a demonstration in The Hague Friday evening designed to disrupt the coronavirus press conference. A police spokesperson said the offenses allegedly committed include public assault, throwing fireworks, possession of very powerful fireworks, and not complying with police orders.
Three of the suspects were still behind bars Saturday morning. Two others were released from custody.
The demonstration took place near the Ministry of Justice and Security, where the press conference was held. Near the Central Station in direction of the Turfkmarkt, police were pelted with stones and heavy fireworks. A fire was also lit and a barricade of bicycles was created.
Police had received information in advance that a group of hardcore football supporters would come to The Hague. "We encountered them demonstrating in the vicinity of the Turfmarkt and between the group of demonstrators," the spokesperson said. Police did not know whether they were also the ones who threw the stones and fireworks.
The Hague Mayor Jan van Zanen had permitted the demonstration but said throwing stones and heavy fireworks at police is unacceptable. "Such behavior has nothing to do with demonstrating and that is why police dissolved the demonstration," Van Zanen said.
Van Zanen thanked the police for intervening quickly and effectively. "I am grateful to them for the great effort."
A protest was also held during previous coronavirus press conferences. During the last press conference, police cleared the area around Turfmarkt. Police were then also pelted with heavy fireworks and stones. During the press conference on September 14, the ministry was closed for a while due to disturbances. Officials and journalists were temporarily unable to leave the building.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times