Thousands of demonstrators at FDF demonstration at Zuiderpark in The Hague; one arrested
The Zuiderpark in The Hague fills with thousands of demonstrators for the protest of Farmers Defence Force and Samen voor Nederland. Many people carry upside-down Dutch flags, carry red farm handkerchiefs and heart balloons. Two tractors are parked in the field, as specified by the municipality.
Het programma in het Haagse Zuiderpark is gestart. Na een introductie van FDF-voorzitter Mark van den Oever spreekt Sieta van Keimpema de demonstranten toe. https://t.co/OpgycZMx7o#boerenprotest pic.twitter.com/jaywdxpZu1— Boerderij (@Boerderij_nl) March 11, 2023
PVV leader Geert Wilders, among others, addressed the demonstrators. He called on the demonstrators to vote in the Provincial Council elections next Wednesday. "Do you want more or less Rutte and Kaag", he asked the demonstrators, a variant of his controversial Moroccan statement. The activists shouted "less". "Then we'll sort that out." Wilders called nitrogen "an excuse to drive farmers away and cram a country with thousands of homes for asylum seekers".
Around 11:30 a.m., a procession with a shovel and fourteen trucks entered the park. These vehicles lined up along the field where the protesters were standing. The driver of the shovel was arrested for breaking a police barrier and the vehicle was impounded. However, the driver resisted the arrest. In the process, two officers were slightly injured.
The atmosphere was calm, although shortly after noon there was a commotion at the edge of the field. One person was arrested in the process.
A few hours before the demonstration, which officially began at noon and lasted until 4 p.m., loud music was already blaring from huge loudspeakers and the first demonstrators gathered in the park. Food trucks were selling snacks, and there were several stalls selling goods. The area of the demonstration is cordoned off with fences. According to the police, they are keeping an eye on the action.
Texts such as 'Local is the new normal', 'Support the farmer, no matter what', 'Vote them out', 'Turn them off' and 'Better shit on the land than money in your hand' can be seen on the field. . There are also two controversial orange-white-blue flags. This so-called Prinsenvlag was incorporated by the NSB at the end of the 1930s and has since been regarded as a nationalistic symbol. The flag is mainly used by extreme right-wing groups.
On the field are texts such as "Local is the new normal," "Support the farmer no matter what," "Vote them out," "Turn them off" and "Better shit on the land than money in the hand." There are also two controversial orange, white and blue flags. This so-called Prince's flag was introduced by the NSB in the late 1930s and has since been considered a nationalist symbol. The flag is mainly used by far-right groups.
The Farmers Defence Force (FDF) earlier announced the "biggest demonstration ever" and said it hoped for 100,000 demonstrators. According to the municipality, the action group indicated that 25,000 people would show up.
According to the FDF, the demonstration is not only about presenting the farmers' point of view 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
According to the action group, PVV leader Geert Wilders and Wybren van Haga (BVNL) will speak during the action.
Reporting by ANP