FDF plans to hold biggest demonstration ever in Zuiderpark in The Hague; 25,000 people expected
The Farmers Defence Force (FDF) will hold its largest demonstration ever at Zuiderpark in The Hague on Saturday. The action group hopes to attract 100,000 demonstrators to the park, but expects 25,000 participants, according to the municipality. There is no maximum number of participants, said the municipality. However, a maximum of two tractors are allowed in the park.
According to the FDF, the demonstration is not only about presenting farmers' views on the nitrogen policy and the forced buyout of farmers, but also about a number of other social problems such as the allowance affair and the gas crisis in Groningen.
The FDF will demonstrate from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. together with Samen voor Nederland, a self-proclaimed apolitical freedom movement. Earlier, political parties such as Forum voor Democratie (FVD), Partij voor de Vrijheid (PVV) and Belang van Nederland (BVNL) called for the demonstration. According to the FDF, PVV leader Geert Wilders and Wybren van Haga (BVNL), will speak during the demonstration.
On the same day, the climate activists of Extinction Rebellion plan to block the A12 in The Hague. At the same time, preparations for Sunday's CPC Run are in full swing at the Malieveld.
Despite the fact that only two tractors are allowed to attend the farmers' protest in the Zuiderpark in The Hague on Saturday afternoon, the police see that dozens of tractors are on their way to the city. "We see that tractors are on their way to The Hague from several places," the police wrote on Twitter.
The vehicles are not allowed to enter the city and will be stopped or led away, the municipality has issued an emergency order for this as it fears a disruption of public order and safety. Drivers of the vehicles are being approached, police said.
We zien dat er vanuit meerdere plekken tractoren onderweg zijn naar #DenHaag. Wij monitoren op de wegen en spreken de bestuurders van deze voertuigen aan om Den Haag niet in te rijden. Tractoren mogen de stad niet in. De burgemeester heeft een #noodbevel afgekondigd.— Politie Eenheid Den Haag (@POL_DenHaag) March 11, 2023
In addition, army trucks with sea containers are parked at various places in the city center of The Hague to prevent tractors from entering the center, the police reported.
The army trucks are located in the Grote Marktstraat at the intersection with the Spui, on the Fluwelen Burgwal behind the town hall and where the Bezuidenhoutseweg changes into the Herengracht, close to the central station. There were also a number of shovels on the Lange Voorhout on Saturday morning. In addition, access to Noordeinde from De Place is closed with two blocks to prevent a tractor from passing through.
Er zijn flexibele #wegafzettingen om te voorkomen dat demonstranten met hun #tractoren het centrum inrijden. Als de situatie daarom vraagt wordt de doorgang tijdelijk afgesloten #11maart #DenHaag #demonstratie pic.twitter.com/FeXgfKMjD5— Politie Eenheid Den Haag (@POL_DenHaag) March 11, 2023
In response to criticism that different approaches are taken to farmers' protests than to climate protests, the police said that they always have a "neutral presence". But that different actions also sometimes lead to different approaches. "After all, protesters who want to use heavy equipment, such as farm vehicles or trucks, to make their point and break the law require a different approach than activists who block a road by sticking to the roadway or conducting a sit-in," police explained.
Reporting by ANP