A judge in Amsterdam will decide on Thursday afternoon if a ‘noisy protest’ planned to disrupt the two minutes silence on Remembrance Day can go ahead.
Activists who want to make noise during the wreath-laying ceremony in central Amsterdam on May 4 have gone to court to force a decision on whether or not their protest is possible.
Amsterdam mayor Jozias van Aartsen has banned the protest – describing the May 4 two minutes silence as a ‘sacrosanct moment’.
‘Disrupting that would be unacceptable, disrespectful and above all, a criminal offence,’ the mayor said earlier.
The Nationaal Comite 4 en 5 Mei, which organises both the Remembrance Day event on May 4 and Liberation Day celebrations on May 5, shares the mayor’s view.
The two minutes silence is to ‘remember Dutch victims of war, whether citizens or soldiers… who died or were murdered in World War II, and in war situations and peacekeeping operations since then,’ the committee said in a statement.
The protesters say the ceremony is selective in who it remembers and ignores the victims of the Indonesian war of independence. ‘One man’s freedom fighter is another man’s war criminal,’ spokesman Rogier Meijerink told the RTL Nieuws.
Jeffry Pondaag, chairman of a foundation campaigning for the recognition of Indonesians who died during the war told the broadcaster he understands the idea behind the noisy protest.
‘Sometimes you have to do extreme things to have an impact,’ he said. ‘The Netherlands itself did extreme things at the time.’
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