Dutch police are infringing on the privacy of demonstrators by making illegal identity checks, which are stored for at least five years in police databases, Amnesty International Nederland said on Thursday.
In addition, police powers during demonstrations have been formulated too vaguely, resulting in protesters feeling intimidated and inhibited in their right to demonstrate, the report said.
There is also too little supervision of the way police operate during demonstrations which can include the use of drones and home searches ahead of a protest rally.
The impact of the checks is having a “chilling” effect on people’s willingness to demonstrate and, in effect, criminalizing protest, the organisation said.
“Checking the ID of peaceful demonstrators conflicts with the right to demonstrate, the right to privacy and the right to data protection,” Amnesty Nederland said. “The cabinet needs to stop this. Demonstrators are making use of an important human right.”
Last week almost 1,600 demonstrators were arrested during an Extinction Rebellion protest on the A12 motorway through The Hague. Most were released without charge, which led to anger among police unions.
However, the public prosecution department said that most of the protestors would not face charges because the demonstration was peaceful, despite being branded illegal by the city authorities.
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