Yesterday there were two major demonstrations in The Hague at the same time.
The first demonstration was organized by the Farmers Defense Force and held in the Zuiderpark (Dutch Wikipedia). As the name suggests, it’s a park southwest of the city centre. Originally the farmers wanted to protest by Malieveld, a large grass field not far from The Hague’s Central train station. However, today was the CPC marathon (CPC=city-pier-city) so preparations were already underway by Malieveld to get everything set up. Therefore the city instructed them that the protest needed to be held at the Zuiderpark.
The second protest was held by Extinction Rebellion and they blocked a major road by The Hague’s Central Station. In this case, the group did not officially approach the city to discuss arrangements, although The Hague knew it was going to happen due to social media.
One thing the city did was bring in large army vehicles and strategically place them in different parts of the city if they were needed. The farmers have been known for driving to The Hague in their tractors and generally causing havoc. See also a blog post about this a few years ago, before corona. Here is a look at some army vehicles positioned at the crossing of Grote Marktstraat and Spui.
In the end, the protest by the Farmers Defense Force went fairly well, with only one scuffle when a truck drove through a blockade at Zuiderpark, allowing about 20-25 tractors to come into the park. The farmers protested from 12:00-16:00 as scheduled and then started leaving at 16:00.
Compare that with Extinction Rebellion, who stormed the highway at exactly 12:00, blocking everything. Around 17:00, the police told them they had to leave. At 18:00, the police said anything who didn’t leave would get the “water cannon” treatment. A lot of people left at that point – getting wet on a day with temperatures just above freezing isn’t a good idea – but some stayed. And then seemed surprised when they got wet?
700 climate activists arrested at XR demonstration on A12 in The Hague, 4 activists became unwell from nltimes.nl
[Dutch prime minister] Rutte criticizes XR’s blockade of A12, use of water cannons is their own fault from nltimes.nl
Police use water cannon to end climate protest, 700 arrested from dutchnews.nl
Coincidentally, voting will be held this week for the provincial council and water authority elections, so it is a good time to vote and let your voice be heard, no matter who you want to vote for. Get out there and vote!