MPs from the ruling coalition want the government to allocate €1m from the culture budget to help pay for security around controversial exhibitions and talks.
They plan to raise the issue during Monday’s debate on the government’s 2016 spending plans for culture. The aim is to create a fund to ‘protect freedom of speech and freedom of expression’ by helping event organisers pay for scanners and security guards.
One example of an event which could have qualified for extra spending is the speech earlier this year by controversial Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, who drew images featuring the prophet Mohammed with a turban bomb.
Security for that event cost the Balie debating society in Amsterdam tens of thousands of euros. ‘That is money we just don’t have,’ Balie director Youri Albrecht told broadcaster Nos.
‘We do not want people to refrain from organising exhibitions or talks because they are afraid,’ said VVD parliamentarian Michiel van Veen. ‘And if money [for security] is an issue, then we want the government to step in.’
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