Thursday 23 September 2021

Thousands sign petition calling for mass concert to be cancelled

Photo: Robbert Stroy ANP

Over 115,000 people have signed a petition drawn up by a Breda hospital doctor calling on the government to scrap a planned outdoor concert with 10,000 people in the city.

The doctor and other hospital workers say the event, part of the government’s Fieldlab experiments, is a ‘slap in the face to the healthcare workers in the hospital just 400 metres away’.

The petition follows a letter sent by the Amphia Ziekenhuis director to Breda mayor Paul Depla ‘raising questions’ about the wisdom of holding such an event, given that coronavirus infections are reaching a peak and that regular hospital care is being scaled back.

‘It is a party, so people will drink, possibly use drugs,’ a spokesman told broadcaster NOS. ‘Our healthcare professionals are reaching the end of their tether. And we don’t think this is sending out the right signal.’

Radio station 538, which is organizing the event, said last Friday that more than one million people had applied for the 10,000 tickets. The last few tickets were sold off for good causes, reaching up to €15,000 each.

The radio station organises a massive outdoor concert on Kings Day every year. This event is being held on April 24.

Scientific

The Fieldlab events are described as ‘experiments’ to assess how events can be organized during pandemics, although some experts have questioned how scientific they actually are.

Government advisors have also recommended against them, because of the risk of spreading coronavirus, even though all visitors will have to have a negative coronavirus test.

Last week health minister Hugo de Jonge said the events are being organized responsibly. He called the €1.1bn budget for the expriements ‘a fantastic investment which enables the organisation of great things.’

Breda bars and cafes have also protested about the plan, because they remain closed. Local councillors have called for a meeting on Monday morning to discuss the issue.

However, Depla told broadcaster NOS on Sunday he is not opposed to the 538 event.

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