At midnight the Netherlands rang in 2020 with firework shows in Rotterdam and The Hague, where the thick fog cleared just in time. While Justice Minister Ferdinand Grapperhaus said he feared a "wild west party" this New Year's, there were no major incidents. There were, however, a very large number of car fires, especially in The Hague region, and multiple incidents of aid workers and first responders being attacked or harassed, according to various Dutch media.
The New Year's Eve festivities are fast approaching, and while it is a fun time for most in the Netherlands, New Year's is a high-risk event for the police and other first responders, National Police Chief Erik Akerboom said on Twitter. He called on everyone in the Netherlands to help make sure that this New Year's tradition is a festive and "especially safe" one for everyone.
Multiple neighborhoods in The Hague were restless on Monday night, the night before New Year's Eve. The police arrested a total of 19 people, on suspicion of throwing fireworks and arson, among other things, NOS reports.
A party was held on Dr. De Visserplein, organized by the volunteers behind the canceled New Year's bonfire on Scheveningen beach. When the party was over, multiple fires were set in the area and the police had to intervene. At around midnight, the police ordered everyone to leave the street and arrested those who refused.
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.
In a Christmas card sent to parliamentarians, police officers, enforcers and other aid workers called for a ban on firecrackers. First responders always face violence and aggression over New Year's, the first responders said. "We are there for the citizen when needed. Are you there for us?"
Marco Kroon was sentenced on Monday by the Arnhem military court to a hundred hours of community service for accusations of headbutting a male cop, and exposing himself and wagging his genitalia at a female police officer. Kroon, a major in a Dutch Army special forces unit who was knighted by Princess Beatrix when she was the country's queen, denied that he intentionally headbutted one officer.
95 percent of Netherlands residents are in favor of harsher punishments for violence against police officers and other first responders during New Year's. 78 percent agree that fireworks should be banned next year in neighborhoods where aid workers are threatened. And 72 percent agree that fireworks should be banned in municipalities where the police cannot guarantee safety, according to a study by I&O Research on behalf of Binnelands Bestuur.
Wednesday night was again restless in parts of The Hague. The police arrested a total of four people for throwing fireworks, arson and insulting police officers. One was arrested in Scheveningen, three in the Escamp neighborhood, where large groups of young people were walking around, setting off fireworks, a police spokesperson said to NOS.
For the third night in a row, the Duindorp neighborhood of The Hague was restless. Some 13 people were arrested for throwing stones, public violence and insult, a police spokesperson said to NU.nl. Footage on social media shows fireworks exploding near riot police officers. Calm returned around midnight.
The Dutch government is allocating 30 million euros for the purchase of electric shock weapons for the police. Equipping cops with tasers has been high on the police's wish list for some time, and they are now getting their way, RTL Nieuws reports.
Around 17 thousand police officers who may find themselves in a situation in which they have to defend themselves against violence will be equipped with a taser. Part of the 30 million euros will go towards purchasing these weapons, and part will go towards training police officers how to handle and use them.
The police arrested three more suspects in connection with a police officer being knocked unconscious during a wedding procession in Rotterdam in August. The suspects are the 22-year-old groom, and the bride's 54-year-old father and 43-year-old mother, NOS reports.
The driver of a car that crashed into a police officer Thursday night was taken into custody following the incident. The traffic cop was hospitalized with injuries sustained in the wreck.
Authorities had set up a checkpoint near the intersection of Sint Servatiusweg and D'n Herk in Venray. They ordered a driver to stop and pull over, police said, but instead the 20-year-old from Venray deliberately struck the police officer with his vehicle, authorities allege.
A 25-year-old man from Rotterdam suspected of knocking a police officer out during a wedding procession in the city, will remain in custody until his next hearing early in January, the Rotterdam court ruled on Thursday. The man is facing charges of aggravated assault, AD reports.
The man - the bride's brother - was arrested earlier this month in Lopik. Police officers found him hiding underneath a bed, according to the newspaper.
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.
In the near future, violence against a police officer or other first responders will always be punished with a prison sentence. Ministers Ferdinand Grapperhaus of Justice and Security and Sander Dekker for Legal Protection will submit a bill on Monday that prohibits punishing this crime with community service or a fine..
Currently only perpetrators of serious violence and sex crimes are always punished with prison, and never with community service.
Violence was used again police officers working the party scene in Roosendaal and Doetinchem during the early hours of Sunday morning. One officer was injured and a total of eight people were arrested.
"Another weekend with excessive and unacceptable violence against colleagues", National Police chief Erik Akerboom said on Twitter. "In Roosendaal and Doetinchem, among others, things went wrong against colleagues 'just' doing their jobs. Local and national measures are once again necessary."
The police are worried about enforcing local firework bans over New Year's and doubt whether these bans contribute to safety, National Police Chief Erik Akerboom said in a letter to parliament. "Maintaining public order is becoming a lot more complex for my people", he said in the letter, the Telegraf reports.
The police released new video footage of a police officer being assaulted by members of a wedding procession in Rotterdam at the end of August. The video, shown on Opsporing Verzocht on Tuesday, shows a man attacking the officer from behind, knocking him out. The perpetrator of the assault managed to get away and is still at large.
The Eerste Kamer, the Dutch Senate, approved a legislative proposal by Minister Ferdinand Grapperhaus of Justice and Security to increase the maximum punishments for crimes that fall under organized crime. The new law, which will take effect on January 1st, also includes a harsher approach to revenge porn and a longer statute of limitation for child abuse.
A police officer fired two warning shots in Klimmen, Limburg after being assaulted by two men during a traffic check on Wednesday night. One of the two suspects were arrested. The other is still at large, but his identity is known, the police said in a statement.
The motorcycle cop wanted to pull over a vehicle in Heerlen at around 10:00 p.m. due to dangerous driving behavior. The car sped away, and the cop gave chase.
National Police chief Erik Akerboom is calling on the government to equip police officers with tasers. An incident in Rotterdam last week, in which a cop was knocked out by a member of a wedding procession, is not an isolated incident, according to the police chief. "As the police, we must increasingly enforce authority. People do not want to be corrected", he said to the Telegraaf.
In the first half of this year, the Dutch police registered 5,113 cases of aggression and violence against police officers. These figures are usually released on an annual basis, but the police decided to release provisional figures at the media's request after four cops were injured during arrests in Rotterdam over the weekend, NOS reports.