Video: Police fire shots at Heerenveen farmer protest; Actions at Groningen airport today
The police fired targeted shots at a farmers’ protest in Heerenveen on Tuesday evening. Protesters tried to drive into police officers and their cars, causing a threatening situation, the police said. Officer fired warning- and targeted shots, the police said.
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There were no injuries. A tractor was hit by a bullet. The police arrested three people.
The incident happened at an onramp to the A32. The Rijksrecherche, the department that handles internal investigations at government services, will investigate the shooting. This is standard procedure when a police officer fires their service weapon.
Photos and videos of the incident are circulating on social media, also showing a bullet hole in a tractor. One video shows officers on the road with their guns drawn. A tractor with a trailer drives past a police blockade, and gunshots sound. The social media videos do not show farmers attacking police officers.
On Twitter, people wonder whether the police fired their guns too quickly. Maarten Brink of the police union ACP said he saw the images online but added that they don’t show the situation that preceded them. According to him, officers “never just grab the firearm.” “The gun is the heaviest measure.”
Criminal lawyer Christian Flokstra is one of those who question the police action. “The video raises questions about the need to shoot, and so good investigation will have to follow,” he said on Twitter. “What I am afraid of now is that parliament will debate a 34-second video.”
Farmers action group Argactie shared the footage on its Facebook page. “And still Minster Van der Wal refuses to talk… Do people have to die first?” reads one of the captions. Argactie also said that the incident could have ended differently if the bullet had been fired more to the left or right. “Are farmers dangerous criminals or something?” the group said. “And from now on? Block police stations?”
More farmers’ protests are expected on Wednesday, including at Groningen Airport Eelde. The municipality of Tynaarlo expects about a thousand farmers to demonstrate at the airport on Wednesday morning. Mayor Marcel Thijssen told regional media that the municipality agreed with farmers that they’d leave the runways free. “The farmers have indicated that they want to keep the protest tidy. I am confident that it will proceed in an orderly manner,” Thijssen said to RTV Noord.
The farmers may block the arrivals and departures of the airport from 9:00 a.m. According to Groningen media, there will be no commercial flights on Wednesday, but organ flights for UMCG in Groningen are on the schedule. “Organ flights and trauma helicopters must be able to access the airport,” Thijssen said.
Reporting by ANP