Amsterdam riot police hold limited strike amid anti-lockdown violence concerns
On Sunday, the riot police (ME) will go on a "scaled-down" strike in Amsterdam. The ME intended to strike during an anti-coronavirus measure protest by the group Samen voor Nederland, but the municipality preventatively banned the march. Police unions still expect thousands of people to attend the demonstrations.
The police unions NPB, ACP, ANPV and Equipe said they would go forth with the strike, but officers will step in if there is a severe threat to public order. Samen voor Nederland's leader, Michael Reijinga, said that he would come to the Museumplein on Sunday to "drink coffee." Last year, he used the phrase to invite thousands of people to protest against the coronavirus measures.
Such instances turned into riots during the previous year. The Museumplein is classed as a safety risk area from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Sunday. In that area can be searched preventively.
Amsterdam authorities, including the mayor, and the local district leaders of the police and Public Prosecution service, issued a ban on Thursday against the protest organized by Samen voor Nederland. Aside from the organization’s refusal to comply with demands limiting the protest size to 3,500 people, and cancelling a march through the city, there were greater concerns about groups of people planning to show up specifically to cause violent confrontations.
The police said they received intelligence that individuals and groups were planning to mix together with legitimate protestors, and were going to use the event as an excuse to cause violence on Sunday. According to Reijinga that is "complete nonsense," and rioters have never been welcome at his demonstrations.
The strike on Sunday is part of the Wake-Up Call 2022 campaign. The police unions want to draw attention to the high work pressure on the police.
Reporting by ANP.