Police arrested dozens of Dutch anti-lockdown protesters in The Hague on the 75th anniversary of Liberation Day, a holiday in the Netherlands celebrating the end of the occupation by Nazi Germany.
On Tuesday, a group of around 200 protesters demanded that the government ease the Chinese coronavirus lockdown measures, waving Dutch flags and carrying placards questioning “Where is our freedom?”
“You can’t fight for your freedom more beautifully than on Liberation Day,” one protester told the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf.
“We want to be free and radiate pride,” said another.
Mayor Johan Remkes initially permitted the protest. However, permission was rescinded after police felt the protesters were not observing the mandatory social distancing rules. Police say that they arrested between 20 and 30 protesters during the rally.
A police spokesman said that “for not listening to the police or the mayor, we have arrested maybe more than 20 or 30 peoplele. They have been taken to the police station.”
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Demonstrators carried out similar anti-lockdown protests across the country, with smaller protests popping up in Amsterdam and in Utrecht.
One woman told the local broadcaster RTV Utrecht that she grew concerned after her Facebook posts were repeatedly removed after being flagged as “fake news”, adding that she felt the Dutch government was not being transparent about the pandemic.
The leader of the Dutch Party for Freedom, Geert Wilders, said that the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic under the leadership of Prime Minister Mark Rutte has “failed on all sides”.
“Without massive testing and broad contact research, the virus was never contained,” Wilders wrote.
“Rutte’s lockdown is not intelligent but very stupid and will cost us our freedom for a long time,” Wilders warned.
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