Dangerous farmers' protests may have been organized beforehand, police say
Police believe there was organization behind the recent farmer protests that have escalated and caused dangerous situations. However, it is still not clear what organizations are involved and responsible, according to Nu.nl.
Farmers’ protests against proposed nitrogen emissions rules have become increasingly radical over the past week, according to the police. Since Monday, police have arrested 20 people responsible for rioting and handed out hundreds of fines.
On Monday, farmers blocked highways with their tractors, showed up at Nature and Nitrogen Minister Christianne van der Wal’s house and set hay bales on fire. They also attempted to free previously arrested activists from a jail in Apeldoorn. Several of these attempts, including the protest at the minister’s home and the jail break, seem previously agreed-upon, said national police commander Willem Woelders to Nu.nl.
"If you look at the actions, you can only conclude that it has been mutually agreed. This does not just happen," Woelders told Nu.nl. However, he added it is difficult for police to prove this.
In several cases, protesters became violent and acted aggressively toward police officers. For example, police could not intervene at Minister Van der Wal’s house. Rioters were only arrested the following morning because of the threat they posed to the police.
However, Woelders said the aggression was only targeted at police. “The family of the nitrogen minister was never in direct danger, but that does not mean that it was not extremely intimidating for them," he emphasized. The national police commander said more suspects will probably be arrested in the coming days.