Demonstrations against the monarchy will be permitted to go ahead during the inauguration of king Willem-Alexander on April 30, justice minister Ivo Opstelten told parliament on Tuesday.
‘It is a right and I am convinced the mayor of Amsterdam thinks the same,’ the minister said.
Last week, a student who held up a cardboard placard protesting against the monarchy was removed by police as she stood outside a theatre in Utrecht which queen Beatrix was attending.
Opstelten told MPs who raised the issue of the student that it is up to local authorities whether or not to permit demonstrations. Such a decision would not be taken lightly, because it could easily be overturned in the courts, he said.
By contrast, MPs from the two small orthodox religious parties ChristenUnie and SGP called on the minister to take a tough approach to demonstrators. A ChristenUnie MP reminded the house of the riots which marred queen Beatrix’s inauguration in 1980.
‘This time everything possible should be done to ensure a good day for everyone,’ he said. ‘The police have to take action in time if people want to disturb the peace.’
SGP leader Kees van der Staaij said there are limits to freedom of speech.
Meanwhile, it remains unclear how much the festivities are likely to cost. The inauguration and security will be paid for by various ministries and Amsterdam city council out of their existing budgets.
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