Right to protest under increasing threat in the Netherlands, says Amnesty International
The right to gather and demonstrate is coming under increasing pressure in the Netherlands, says human rights activist organization Amnesty International. This is because local and national governments "have insufficient knowledge about what is and is not covered by the right to demonstrate,” the group says.
According to Dagmar Oudshoorn, director of Amnesty International Netherlands, protests are "too often considered to be a security risk rather than a human right that should be facilitated as best as possible.”
Some 54 percent of the Dutch populace think that demonstrations are necessary for social change, according to an opinion poll carried out by I&O on behalf of Amnesty International. In addition, seven out of ten people think that everyone should be free to demonstrate for or against something. That has risen increased since 2018, when 58 percent thought the same.
The survey shows that demonstrations by hospital workers for better working conditions are widely supported. Half think it is advisable, and seven out of ten think it is at least acceptable.
On the other hand, the protests by Farmers Defense Force are seen as acceptable by about half of those surveyed, and advisable by three out of ten. Demonstrations by environmental activists Extinction Rebellion, as well as previous protests against the coronavirus measures and against blackface use to portray Zwarte Piet are not seen as acceptable or advisable by a large majority.
"It is especially important now, in times of increasing social tensions, to ensure that everyone who wants to demonstrate peacefully is given ample opportunity, regardless of the content of the protest. Demonstrating is not a favor, but a right," argues Oudshoorn.
With a new campaign, Amnesty International wants to increase knowledge among both the general public and governments. In the coming years, the organization will also campaign internationally to defend the right to demonstrate worldwide.
Reporting by ANP