Police make home visits to people who liked a Groningen gas protest on Facebook

Photo: Depositphotos.com

Groningen police on Wednesday issued a statement confirming that police officers had made home visits to two people who had ‘liked’ demonstrations coinciding with Wednesday’s visit by economic affairs minister Erik Wiebes on social media.

The police officers ‘opted for a person chat about nature, size and location of possible demonstrations,’ the statement said. ‘The information was necessary to be able to make a proper assessment of the number of demonstrations and who was involved.’

Wiebes was in the province on Wednesday for a regular meeting and to attend the New Year’s reception for the three northern provinces. However, he tacked time on to visit the village of Zeerijp, which was the epicentre of Monday’s earthquake.

One of those visited by police was Agnes Voorintholt, who told RTL that the officers had turned up while she was reading to her daughter at around 7.30pm.

‘I had liked the event Vertel ‘ Wiebes zelf (tell Wiebes yourself) and said I was interested in Bier gooien naar de Nam (throw beer at the Nam),’ she told the broadcaster. ‘A special police team had noted this… apparently it is suspicious.’

Big brother

Even though the police officers were nice enough, Voorintholt said she was left feeling uneasy. ‘Surely the police should not be turning up at your house just because you’ve ticked an event. This is really Big Brother.’

The police statement said that in retrospect, it would have been better if the police officers had made the visits in plain clothes rather than in uniform.

However, Groningen’s mayor Peter den Oudsten told the Dagblad van het Noorden that while he understood what the police were doing, the enquiries would better have been made by phone.


Meanwhile, Wiebes told villagers in Zeerijp that damages claims should be handled more quickly. ‘We’ve been talking for far too long and we have to take some decisions,’ he said. ‘Even I am now impatient.’

Wiebes also reconfirmed his plans to reduce the extraction of natural gas from under the province even further.

Protestors have called for a demonstration outside the Groningen provincial council offices where the reception is being held on Wednesday evening.

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