Demonstrations lead to police using more force and weapons last year
Dutch police used force in 18,477 separate incidents last year, up 2,000 on 2020, according to new police figures.
The increase, police say, is due to tensions arising from the coronavirus crisis and the government measures to combat the spread of the virus.
‘We are doing our job in a society in which is dissatisfied and in which authority is increasingly being questioned,’ said spokesman Frank Paauw.
The police came into action in almost 15 million registered incidents last year and used force in just 0.12% of them.
Nevertheless, police were more likely to use the weapons at their disposal – such as truncheons, tear gas and water cannon – when they did use force, the report shows. The increase, the report said, is due to the large number of demonstrations which police attended.
Hundreds of people were arrested at demonstrations all over the country throughout the year, with the worse trouble taking place in Amsterdam in January.
At one point the UN’s special rapporteur on torture described video showing Dutch riot police restraining a demonstrator during a coronavirus protest as ‘one of the most disgusting scenes of police brutality I have seen since George Floyd’.
Nils Melze also called for legal action against the officers involved, apparently unaware that one film dated from March last year and that the policemen in question were already being prosecuted for using excessive violence.
Police unions in the Netherlands said at the time Melzer did not put ‘all the facts and circumstances in the right context’, and lodged a complaint about his tweets at the UN.
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