Thousands take part in ‘banned’ coronavirus demo in Amsterdam

Riot police keep demonstrators away from the Museumplein. Photo: Phil Nijhuis ANP
Riot police keep demonstrators away from the Museumplein. Photo: Phil Nijhuis ANP

Several thousand people marched through Amsterdam on Sunday afternoon to protest about the government’s coronavirus measures, even though the demonstration had been banned by the city’s mayor because of police concerns about public safety.

Police ordered the demonstrators who turned up on the Museumplein to leave and there was a heavy police presence, with riot police vans parked in neighbouring streets since early morning.

As the crowd – put at 10,000 strong by city officials – dispersed, there were some scuffles with police and some 30 people were arrested.

After leaving the Museumplein, many of the demonstrators marched to Westerpark where the far right Forum voor Democratie was holding a rally to kick off their local election campaign.

That rally was allowed because it had been agreed in advance and the organisers said they would enforce social distancing, the city council said in a short statement on Sunday afternoon.

However, eyewitnesses told there was no social distancing among the FvD supporters, who numbered several hundred.

Police used drones to keep an eye on the demonstrators, who eventually dispersed through one of the gates.

According to the Parool, some of them returned to the Museumplein and on Sunday evening there were still a large number of police officers on duty in the area.

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