Keep in mind the last mayor of The Hague, Pauline Krikke, was forced to resign after the the damning report of the Scheveningen “fire rain” bonfires on New Year’s Eve 2018-19 and after corruption allegations into two city alderman (see this dutchnews.nl article in English).
This New Year’s Eve there was a demonstration in Duindorp. Duindorp and Scheveningen are right next to each other, each competing against the other to make the highest bonfire. That is until the 2018-19 accident when bonfires were banned. They were also banned on New Year’s 2019-20 because the safety permits couldn’t be obtained. Fast forward to this year when they were banned due to the corona measures.
On New Year’s Eve this year there was a demonstration in Duindorp, filled with hundreds of people dancing and singing in the afternoon:
Reports on Twitter suggested that this was not a demonstration at all but a party. The city investigated this claim (Gemeente Den Haag onderzoekt demonstratie met dansend publiek Duindorp – from nos.nl in Dutch), but the mayor denied this and said it was a demonstration.
Yesterday a report dropped on OmroepWest (a local Dutch news station) that the current mayor of The Hague, Jan van Zanen, not only knew that it was not a true demonstration but also that the city council paid €10,000 for festival lighting, with money “allocated for an ‘alternative programme’ to the regular New Year celebration”. Here is an article in English from DutchNews.nl:
Interesting. Though if it were true, it could be seen as attempt by the mayor and the city to prevent worse rioting and to distract the masses, as it were. Which in itself isn’t a bad thing, if we weren’t in the middle of a pandemic at the moment.