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.
— Amterdammer (@amterdammer) June 1, 2020
A lot of pictures are misleading because of the camera angle. Everyone was wearing masks and there was distancing except at the very centre of the square. This wasn’t even the very edge: pic.twitter.com/VjHCTGVAbD
— Enzo Rossi (@enzoreds) June 1, 2020
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.
Ouderen, in verzorgingshuizen, eenzaam, gescheiden van familie. Zelfs partners van elkaar gescheiden. Boetes. Dodenherdenking op een lege Dam. En nu dit??? Onvoorstelbaar. #halsema pic.twitter.com/EHNy1OHt8R
— Paul Slettenhaar (@Paulslettenhaar) June 1, 2020
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