Many cities lack resources to enforce fireworks ban this year
Many municipalities do not have the policing resources necessary to enforce the ban on fireworks, the Telegraaf reported based on a survey of municipalities in the country. The fireworks ban was ordered at the national level for the tel:2021-2022 New Year’s period to prevent adding hundreds of fireworks accident victims to hospitals dealing with high numbers of Covid-19 patients.
The Cabinet made the decision in mid November at the urging of the 25 mayors on the Security Council. There were 2,147 hospitalized Covid-19 patients at that time, including 428 in intensive care, and hospitals were admitting an average of 269 new Covid-19 patients daily. That has since fallen to 184. The patient total on Thursday was 1,978, with 515 in Dutch ICUs.
The day the fireworks ban was announced, a protest was held in Rotterdam against the coronavirus measures. Rioting and violence broke out during the protest with several injuries reported. Officers were hurt, including some who were pelted by stones and fireworks. Several rioters were injured, including some who were shot by police. Hundreds of officers were needed to put an end to the violence and restore order.
Now, many mayors say their first priority is to ensure the safety of emergency workers and compliance with other coronavirus measures. A combination of societal anger regarding the current lockdown and the mild weather expected on New Year’s Eve can cause problems, the newspaper noted.
“Safety comes first. If there is space to enforce the fireworks ban, we will do so,” said police commander Willem Woelders. Tackling extremes will be the priority, he added.
With police capacity issues, a “massive deployment” of uniformed officers on the streets of Apeldoorn will not happen, said Mayor Ton Heerts.
“We won’t go after every little boy with one firecracker,” said Sebastiaan van ‘t Erve, the mayor of Lochem in a response to the newspaper.