Thousands gathered on Dam Square to protest racism and police brutality

Yesterday, protests against police brutality and institutional racism took place in Amsterdam on the Dam Square. Several thousand people attended, NOS reports. 

This protest was in solidarity with those that have taken place over the past days in the US, sparked by the murder of George Floyd by the police. He died after a police officer kneeled on his neck for several minutes. Many protests in the US have been met with yet more police brutality.

Solidarity protests have been popping up all over the world, and yesterday’s gathering in Dam Square is the first of at least three anti-racist protests that will be taking place in the Netherlands: there will be another in The Hague today, and one in Rotterdam tomorrow.

Protests in the times of social distancing

Concerns were raised by members of the public and politicians yesterday about the potential impact of having a gathering during the coronavirus crisis. Most protestors did wear masks, and it seems that it was only at the very centre of the protest that people did not keep a distance from one another. No fines were given out.

On Twitter, people have expressed their concerns about the potential for the protest to increase infections again. Coronavirus has had a massive impact on the livelihoods and daily lives of many people around the world, so some frustration with this protest is to be expected.

Much of the criticism is aimed at mayor Femke Halsema

The mayor of Amsterdam, Femke Halsema, joined protestors in the square. In response to comments from CDA, VVD and PVV politicians about the perceived inappropriateness of the protest, she said that people should be responsible for themselves, and that this protest was too important to be banned or otherwise intervened with and that breaking up the protest could have only done by force by the police. Something which is of course very unwelcome these days.

Halsema also stated that the local authorities only expected a couple of hundred and protesters and that they didn’t see the influx of thousands of people happen until late into the day. She has advised protestors to quarantine themselves for two weeks to minimise the public health impact they have.

What are your thoughts on the protest? Let us know in the comments below.

Feature Image: Gosse Bouma/Supplied

Ailish Lalor
Ailish Lalor
Ailish was born in Sydney, Australia, but grew up by a forest in south-east Ireland, which she has attempted to replace with a living room filled with plants in The Hague. Besides catering to her army of pannenkoekenplantjes, Ailish spends her days convincing her friends that all food is better slightly burnt, plotting ways to hang out with dogs and cats, and of course, writing for DutchReview.

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