Destroyed Russian tank displayed on Leidseplein in Amsterdam
A destroyed Russian army tank is on display on the Leidseplein in Amsterdam. Mayor Femke Halsema opened the exhibition, intended to warn passers-by about the fragility of democracy, on Thursday. Her speech was often interrupted by protesters, Parool reports.
The T-72B tank was destroyed by Ukrainian soldiers during the Battle of Kyiv almost a year ago. It has since been traveling through Europe ever since.
“This tank should not be here,” Halsema started her speech. She was immediately interrupted by anti-war protesters shouting to get rid of it. But according to Halsema, the tank is on Leidseplein precisely because of the contrast it creates.
“Numerous Amsterdammers and visitors come here every day to sniff out culture, to discuss, to be entertained, to meet each other. This Russian tank is the opposite of this freedom. When you see this tank here in this place, the cold beats you to the heart. That is exactly the intention,” the Amsterdam mayor said.
The tank is a warning, Halsema said. “Placing this tank is not a gesture of triumph, but a gesture of pain, sorrow, and broken democracy. It reminds us that we must defend democracy every day.”
Her speech was often interrupted by the protesters, who threw flowers and rose petals on the tank.
The tank will be on Leidseplein until June 4 as part of the Forum on European Culture program by the debate center De Balie. This year, the forum focuses on democracy in Europe.