Baudet could be prosecuted for breaching lockdown rules in Urk

Thierry Baudet (in baseball cap) on a campaign visit to Lelystad this week. Photo: ANP/Davide Heijmans
Thierry Baudet (in cap) on a campaign visit to Lelystad this week. Photo: ANP/Davide Heijmans

Prosecutors are considering bringing charges against Forum voor Democratie leader Thierry Baudet for breaching coronavirus restrictions on a campaign visit.

Baudet, 38, was photographed embracing supporters and shaking hands during a rally in the Flevoland village and former island of Urk on Tuesday. His campaign team later ate dinner together in a seafood restaurant.

The prosecution service (OM) said the investigation focused solely on that visit and not other events in Haarlem, Hardewijk and Deventer.

‘We will set out all the facts and the decision on whether to proceed with a prosecution depends on what comes out of that,’ OM spokeswoman Mary Hallebeek told local newspaper De Stentor.

‘A prosecution depends among other things on the question of whether Baudet was encroached on by others and couldn’t do much about it, or deliberately breached the rules.’

In contrast to other parties who have recognised the need to keep infections and deaths down, Baudet has campaigned vociferously for the abolition of the lockdown and allied himself with self-styled coronavirus sceptics such as dance teacher Willem Engel, founder of anti-lockdown group Viruswaarheid (formerly known as Viruswaanzin).

The mayor of Urk, Cees den Bosch, was critical of the rally. ‘A member of parliament in particular should comply with the rules,’ he said.

Prime minister Mark Rutte said Baudet’s behaviour was ‘extremely ill-judged’. ‘We know it’s a risk because that’s one of the ways you can transmit the virus. You just shouldn’t do it.’

Baudet said the visit to Urk was one of his ‘personal favourites’ of the campaign. ‘People here are sensible, work hard and just like us they’re against the coronavirus rules.’

The latest Peilingwijzer poll of polls indicates FVD are on course to win between one and five seats in parliament in the election on March 17.

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