Emergency ordinance in The Hague as farmers head to protest at Budget Day
Update 8:17 a.m. - More information regarding protesting farmers added to paragraphs 3 and 4
Today is Prinjsesdag, Budget Day, in the Netherlands. The Hague implemented an emergency ordinance in the city “due to serious fears of disturbance of public order and safety on Prinsjesdag” caused by protesting farmers. A few farmers are already in the city, and more are on the way.
“Farmers who want to demonstrate in the city with their tractors will be sent back and, if necessary, led elsewhere from the city boundary,” the municipality tweeted. A city spokesperson said the mayor issued the ordinance after the police “observed farmers’ movements” towards the city. “They would be on their way to The Hague to disrupt public order. We cannot take that on Prinsjesdag, especially now that the public is allowed to be present for the first time” since 2019.
On Tuesday morning, four tractors were stationary on Benoordenhoutseweg, according to the police. And a group of about 40 tractors was heading to the city through Ypenburgse Boslaan near Nootdorp. Several farmers turned back after the police stopped them. At least four tractors remained in place and were being removed. The police planned to load them onto a trailer and take them away. There was also an army vehicle present to transport the tractors. One reporter said that the situation was developing without incident, and no arrests were immediately made known.
"We have just seized a number of tractors at the Schenk Viaduct in The Hague for violating the emergency order. Farmers tried to drive their tractors into the center and did not follow our instructions," the police reported on Twitter.
This is the first coronavirus restrictions-free Budget Day since 2019. Many thousands of people are expected in The Hague, trying to catch a glimpse of King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima driving past in the Glass Carriage or the Royal family waving from the balcony of Noordeinde Palace afterward.
Princess Amalia will be present at Prinsjesdag for the first time this year. The 18-year-old crown princess does not have to perform official duties on this occasion but will accompany her parents, King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima.
This year, King Willem-Alexander’s speech from the throne will happen in the Koninklijke Schouwburg because the Binnenhof is undergoing renovations. The glass carriage with the King and Queen will depart from Noordeinde Palace at 1:00 p.m. and travel via Heulstraat, Kneuterdijk, Lange Voorhout, and Tournooiveld to the theater on Korte Voorhout. During the driving tour, a salute shot is fired every minute on the Malieveld. The King and Queen will return to the palace around 2:00 p.m. and then go to the balcony.
The area around the surrounding route has been cordoned off. The street near Koninklijke Schouwburg closed at 6:00 a.m. The rest of the route will be closed from 10:30 a.m. Only pedestrians can access the area. Trams and buses will detour, and cars, bicycles, and scooters can’t park in the area. The city laid ropes on the tram rails to prevent the Glass Carriage’s wheels from getting stuck.
Five groups announced that they would demonstrate in The Hague during Prinsjesdag. At the entrance of the Tweede Kamer, there’s a protest under the heading “transfer knowledge and facts from representatives of the people.” It is unclear who organized the protest or what exactly it is about. Opposite the Tweede Kamer is a demonstration against the monarchy. Trade union FNV will demonstrate at the city hall for an increase in the minimum wage. Up the road, the Foundation for the Support of Human Rights in Social VIolence will protest. The fifth registered protest of the day is at the Russian embassy, where Ukrainians and their supporters will stand all day.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times