Saturday 31 October 2020

Police block taxi drivers’ protest against coronavirus measures

Police in The Hague have partially blocked the A12 motorway to stop taxi drivers staging an illegal demonstration against coronavirus rules.

Details of the protest on the Malieveld were circulated on social media despite a ban by acting mayor Johan Remkes because it would exceed the limit for social gatherings.

Taxi drivers are angry that they are not eligible for the one-off €4,000 compensation payment being given to businesses that are directly affected by the shutdown, such as bars and restaurants. The taxi trade has virtually dried up since the measures came into effect on May 15.

On Tuesday police said they had received indications that some taxi drivers were preparing to defy the ban. ‘But we don’t know how large this group is,’ a spokeswoman told NOS. ‘That’s why we have narrowed the A12 into the city as a precaution. We can speak to taxi drivers and tell them they’d be better advised to go back home.’

Police said the Malieveld was not closed but officers were patrolling to make sure drivers did not congregate there. The field is the most popular location for large-scale demonstrations in the Netherlands, such as the recent protests by farmers and builders against the government’s measures to cut nitrogen emissions.

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