Monday 03 August 2020

Counter-terrorism service alerted as arsonists set fire to telecom masts

Fire damaged this transmitter in Nuenen. Photo: Rob Engelhaar /ANP

Arsonists are thought to have set fire to at least six telecommunications masts in the Netherlands in recent days, and officials suspect there is a link with conspiracy theorists who say the coronavirus pandemic has been caused by the rollout of 5G services.

Dutch mobile phone providers have alerted the counter terrorism unit NCTV to the fires, which appear to have started in cables at ground level. The text ‘Fuck 5G’ had been sprayed at the location of one fire in Deurne in Noord-Brabant.

The NCTV said in a statement that protests about telecom masts are not new but that this sort of ‘extremist’ action is a ‘worrying development’. ‘We are in close contact with the police and providers and are monitoring the situation,’ the NCTV said.

The Dutch phone providers’ association Monet has described the arson as ‘unacceptable’ and points out that the telecoms network is essential to ensure the emergency services can be alerted and that hospitals and nursing homes can communicate.

At least 20 mobile phone masts have been vandalised in Britain.

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