Fewer than half of the Dutch public still supports the farmers who have been protesting across the Netherlands in high-profile events for the last five months. The farmers staged an organized demonstration in The Hague again on Wednesday, which ended with nine arrests and dozens of fines issued by police.
Thousands of farmers are heading towards The Hague on Wednesday morning to again protest against the government's nitrogen policy. The police ordered the farmers to stay off the highways with their tractors. Public works department Rijkswaterstaat therefore expects a morning rush hour that is no busier than usual, NU.nl reports.
After chaos caused by farmers driving their tractors on highways during protests last year, a majority in the lower house of Dutch parliament pledged their support to a legislative proposal that will oblige farmers to put license plates on their tractors. The Netherlands is one of the last countries in Europe to regulate this, RTL Nieuws reports.
As much as authorities wanted to prevent tractors and construction vehicles from tying up the highways during protests by farmers and builders in October, law enforcement in the Netherlands was outmatched and unable to prevent it, concedes Linda Bregman, of the Public Prosecutor's Office (OM). It was not "because we didn't want it. Not because we didn't understand the law.
The police in Amersfoort arrested three protesters on Wednesday for throwing fireworks at motorcycle police officers. Two of the three officers involved had to be hospitalized with hearing problems. A fourth protester was arrested for hindering an ambulance, the police said.
The fireworks incident in Amersfoort happened at around 6:00 p.m. on Oude Lageweg. The officers were guiding protesting farmers and construction workers when fireworks were thrown at them from a passing van. The police immediately intervened and arrested three people from Amersfoort.
As protesting farmers and construction workers caused traffic problems in multiple places in the Netherlands throughout the day, the expectation for evening rush hour looks pretty bleak. At 3:55 p.m. there were still 41 areas of traffic jams, affecting about 165 kilometers of roadway according to infrastructure authority Rijkswaterstaat.
"Dozens of fines were issued during the day and a multitude of tractors were removed from the road," police said in a statement.
Protesting farmers are causing quite a bit of traffic chaos in Netherlands on Wednesday morning. At Alkmaar, a group of around 80 tractors climbed onto the A9 highway towards Amsterdam - against the orders of the police.
Motorists must take longer travel time into account on Wednesday morning due to protests by farmers and construction workers. The construction workers are planning go-slow actions on Dutch highways and provincial roads. A court banned the farmers from blocking distribution centers, but other types of actions are planned.
Protesting farmers will not block supermarkets' distribution centers on Wednesday, the lawyer representing action group Farmers Defense Force (FDF) promised in court on Monday in summary proceedings filed by supermarket chains' organization CBL. According to the lawyer, the FDF never planned to block distribution centers and cause supermarkets to have empty shelves the week before Christmas, NOS reports.
Farmers with 28 tractors gathered on Dam Square and Rokin in Amsterdam on Friday to protest against the government's nitrogen policy. They brought food with them for brunch and invited Amsterdam residents to come eat with them, specifically, Dutch-made food "with a low environmental impact."
"Farmer and citizen can talk to each other or enjoy a tasty egg or a hamburger sandwich", action group Argactie said on its website. "We want to use this day to find a connection between farmer and citizen." The protest action will officially last from noon until 4:00 p.m.
Farmers in the Netherlands will hold more protests on Wednesday, December 18th. Exactly what form these protest actions will take, is not yet clear and will likely only be announced shortly in advance, NOS reports.
The government wants to quickly reduce the maximum speed limits on Dutch roads in order to get housing construction up and running again. Lowering the speed limit will reduce the nitrogen emissions caused by road traffic, creating room for nitrogen emissions caused by construction projects, is the idea, AD reports based on sources in The Hague.
Mass gatherings of heavy equipment on the Malieveld in Den Haag will no longer be allowed to prevent structural damage to a parking garage below the grassy field. The city made the announcement on Wednesday afternoon, as rumors continue to grow that construction workers are planning on convening at the location to protest the national government’s nitrogen emissions policy.
Farmers are planning to move their protest against the government's nitrogen policy from The Hague to Amsterdam. But that doesn't mean the Malieveld in The Hague will be left empty. Construction workers are planning to protest there next week Wednesday.
Around two thousand farmers spent the night in The Hague after a major protest on Wednesday, according to estimates from Farmers Defense Force (FDF), the organizer behind the protest. They slept in caravans, tents or their tractors and ended the overnight protest with a breakfast. Around 300 Hague residents, farmers and journalists attended the breakfast, NOS reports.
Farmers protesting in the Utrecht region who then drove their tractors on the A12 motorway rejected orders from the police to exit the A12 and park their vehicles at the Cars Jeans Stadium in Den Haag. Instead, many stormed into town, attempting to either create a disturbance in the city center, force their way near parliament, or to other gathering sites in the city.
Public works department Rijkswaterstaat closed the A12 highway from Utrecht to Den Haag at Nootdorp at the request of the police. The highway is overcrowded with farmers on tractors heading towards The Hague for a demonstration. Rijkswaterstaat advises motorists to avoid the highways around The Hague region.
The Ministry of Defense is supporting the police and the municipality of The Hague on Wednesday in cordoning off the city center, including the Binnenhof, to large vehicles. Hundreds of farmers are expected to go to the city today to protest against nitrogen measures.
Hundreds of farmers have taken to the streets on their tractors in another protest against nitrogen measures. They will start their protest in De Bilt, near the national institute for public health and environment RIVM, and then move on to The Hague around midday. Traffic is already piling up, with 346 kilometers of traffic jams reported by 7:15 a.m., according to the ANWB.
The police arrested two men on Tuesday in connection with incidents during a farmers' protest at the Groningen provincial government on Monday. Both men are suspected of public violence, the police said in a statement. That brings the total number of suspects arrested up to three.
On Monday hundreds of farmers went to protest against new rules surrounding nitrogen emissions at eight of the twelve Dutch provincial governments. The protest in Groningen got out of hand.
The provinces of Gelderland, Overijssel and Drenthe followed Friesland's example and announced on Monday that they are reversing the nitrogen measures they announced last week. This happened as hundreds of farmers took their tractors to protest at eight provincial governments. "This is asking for further actions", Jan Brouwer, director of the Center for Public Order and Safety, said to NOS.
Farmers in the Netherlands are planning more protests. On Wednesday next week, action group Farmers Defense Force plans to hold a major demonstration "somewhere in the Randstad". And action group Agractie has two actions planned in the coming four to six weeks, De Gelderlander reports.
The farmers' protest in The Hague on Tuesday was funded by large agricultural companies. Bart Kemp from Ede may have come up with the idea for the protest on the Malieveld in The Hague, but large corporations from Apeldoorn, Nijkerk, Meppel, and Lochem, among others, backed it with substantial amounts of money, De Gelderlander reports after speaking to a number of involved businesses.