Amsterdam’s Museumplein declared security risk over Covid riot fears; Stop-and-frisk planned
The Museumplein in Amsterdam will be designated a security risk on next Sunday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Anyone in the vicinity of the of the square can be stopped by police at random and searched, the municipality announced on Friday.
The decision was made by city leaders along with the local district of the police and Public Prosecution Service. The authorities are concerned about warnings they received which indicate "people want to come to the Museumplein, with weapons, and who are prepared to commit violent acts." The police will closely monitor the situation, and are preparing for various scenarios, the municipality said.
A protest against coronavirus restrictions and the lockdown was scheduled for Sunday. It was organized by Samen voor Nederland, but authorities banned the protest because the organization would not commit to several conditions put forward by the city. These included a maximum of 3,500 people, that everyone maintain a distance of 1.5 meters from each other in keeping with coronavirus guidelines, and the cancellation of a proposed march through the city as part of the demonstration.
Their refusal signified the organization was not interested in maintaining order, the city said on Thursday. The city also said the police received intelligence suggesting that people looking to commit violent acts were planning on intermingling with legitimate protestors, similar to how a riot broke out in Rotterdam last month. Police in Rotterdam shot several rioters, and many officers were pelted with rocks and fireworks.
In addition, the riot police had announced a work stoppage during the demonstration in Amsterdam. This was meant to draw attention to police capacity problems and the heavy workload police officers face.
There were renewed calls on social media for opponents to the coronavirus policy to go to Amsterdam on Sunday regardless of the ban. The labor union representing the riot police divisions decided to scale down their strike to prepare for any eventuality, the union said on Thursday.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times