The Vrouwen voor Vrijheid (Women for Freedom) group organised a demonstration on the Museumplein in Amsterdam on Saturday evening. Police say they ended the protest early, but the organisers disagree.
The group held the protest because they believe that their freedoms as individuals are under threat from coronavirus measures, reports AD. Approximately 1000 people attended the gathering, but police say that attendees failed to keep their distance from each other.
Permission was granted by the municipality for the protest to last until 7 PM, but it only went until 6 PM. While police claim that they ended the protest, attendees say it was the scheduled ending of the programme.
Romy Quint, leader of the demonstration, insisted that the demonstration was brought to an early finish on purpose, “so that the police wouldn’t hurt us in the end.” Vrouwen voor Vrijheid planned a programme that would finish around 6 PM, but police understood that it would go on until 7 PM.
As a result, when police had to order the organisation to turn off the music around 6:20 PM, they saw it as “termination” according to a police spokesperson. The music and speech were causing unrest and participants were not adhering to corona measures, police said.
The police’s story caused outrage on social media, as demonstrators argued that the event was already over when police supposedly intervened. “That was just a farewell song that was used afterwards, as background music while people left,” says Quint.
Quint emphasizes that police contact during the demonstration went well, and is disappointed that the municipality is presenting the protest in a negative light. A spokesperson for the municipality says their information is based on that from the police. “We weren’t there, the police were. As far as we know, the meeting ended on the initiative of the police.”
A police spokesperson later tried to clarify the confusion. “The last speech ended at 6:05 PM, then music was put on. We then went to the group to say that it had been good, they agreed. That was around 6:20 PM. According to the request, the demonstration was scheduled until 7 PM, so that’s where the words ‘terminated’ come from.”
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