Amsterdam police to stop and frisk Covid protestors, Willem Engel supporters
Police will conduct random stop and frisk searches of people in Amsterdam's Museumplein and its surroundings on Sunday. The square has been designated as a security risk area due to the United We Stand Europe demonstration.
Some people involved in the demonstration have taken weapons with them and could cause a disturbance, according to the municipality of Amsterdam's Twitter. The protest will begin at 1 p.m. and a march will commence at 1:30 p.m., according to the United We Stand Europe Facebook page. The organization describes its goal as supporting a united Europe and opposing the European Union.
Het Museumplein en omgeving worden vandaag aangewezen als veiligheidsrisicogebied ivm de demonstratie van United We Stand Europe. Er zijn signalen dat personen die zich willen aansluiten bij de demonstratie, uit zijn op ongeregeldheden en wapens meenemen. De politie mag daarom— Gemeente Amsterdam (@AmsterdamNL) March 20, 2022
United We Stand Europe alleges that the coronavirus restrictions were lifted in the Netherlands as a temporary measure meant to influence the outcome of the municipal elections. They also accuse Health Minister Ernst Kuipers of plotting to give up Dutch sovereignty and allowing the World Health Organization to take over control of the Netherlands.
The demonstration is called "Step Into the Light" and speakers include a UFO researcher and figures known for speaking out against coronavirus measures. It falls on the same day as an illegal Museumplein protest in 2021 that culminated in a riot and 58 arrests. That demonstration, which opposed coronavirus measures, featured signs such as "Vaccination passport = apartheid."
Organizers also took to social media this week to call on supporters of Covid-denier and vaccine skeptic Willem Engel to rally for him at 1 p.m. at the Amsterdam site. Engel was arrested last week on charges of sedition. The Public Prosecution Service alleged that he used social media to incite people to become violent or aggressive against authority as a means of undermining the rule of law.
March 19, 2022
Engel was remanded into custody on Friday and will remain behind bars for at least two weeks, when a court will evaluate the progress of the investigation. He can then be ordered to stay in jail for up to 90 more days, which can be extended further after another hearing.