Prime minister blames ‘drug addled hooligans’ for trouble at The Hague demo

Demonstrators watch as the police move in. Photo: Robin Utrecht ANP
Demonstrators watch as the police move in. Photo: Robin Utrecht ANP

Some 15 people arrested during Sunday’s anti lockdown demonstration in The Hague remain in custody on public order offences, police said on Monday.

In total, 400 people were arrested when police moved in to clear the Malieveld near the city’s main railway station in the afternoon. Most were sent home on Sunday evening.

Prime minister Mark Rutte has spoken out about the disturbances, telling reporters it is important to make a distinction between people who came to demonstrate peacefully and people who were looking for trouble.

Those protesting because they are concerned about their freedom being eroded have every right to do so, as do people demonstrating against racism, the prime minister said. ‘But judging by the video on television, there were half-wits among them,’ Rutte said. ‘Drug addled hooligans,’ he said, were abusing the situation.

The demonstration had originally been banned by acting mayor Johan Remkes but he did eventually allow it to go ahead in a different form.

Rutte said he understood that people want the rules to be relaxed even further, but said ‘if we don’t keep to the rules, the virus will soon be back’.

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