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Wednesday 24 June: THE HAGUE NEWS UPDATES (source: regional broadcaster Omroep West and Dutchbuzz)
MAYOR DEFENDS POLICE ACTION DURING SUNDAY’S PROTEST
The acting Mayor, Johan Remkes and The Hague city council praised the professionalism of the police when the latter intervened during a protest last Sunday that got out of hand.
The demonstration was organised by the group Virus Waanzin (virus nonsense), to protest against the coronavirus safety measures becoming law. Protesters criticised the measures imposed by the government, especially the 1,5 metre distancing, which they consider “inhumane”.
While the protest began peacefully, attendees refused to leave the Malieveld at the end of the allotted time, in spite of calls to do so by the police. A large number then gathered outside the Central Station where football hooligans used violence against the police, to which the police responded with horses, dogs and water cannons. 425 arrests were made, including 25 for public violence.
The acting Mayor, Johan Remkes, condemned the “irresponsible behaviour by people claiming to fight for fundamental rights and freedoms, while violating the basic rules of society and endangering others.”
Political party Hart voor Den Haag called for a debate in the city council, claiming that the police had used excessive force against the protesters and pointing out that that the protest had initially not been permitted, while others, such the anti-racism protest on 2 June was allowed. The majority of the other parties in the city council rejected this proposal.
Permission for the demonstration was initially denied because organisers had planned to have DJs play music and guest speakers which, together with the expected numbers of attendees, made this a “large event” rather than a demonstration, according to authorities, and these events have been banned until 1 September. In addition, there were strong signals that certain groups were planning confrontation with the police under the guise of demonstration.
PRIMARY SCHOOL CLOSES FOUR CLASSES DUE TO CORONAVIRUS
Pupils of four classes of the Roman Catholic Liduina school in The Hague were sent home when one teacher and four members of one family tested positive for the virus. The rest of the school remains open. The school followed the recommendations of the local health authority, according to the Chair of the school Board, Ewald van Vliet. As a precaution, a number of others people involved in the school are undergoing tests.
SEWAGE WATER USED TO DETERMINE CORONAVIRUS INFECTION LEVELS
Since 1 April, the public health authority, RIVM, has been testing sewage water for the presence of the virus. The Harnashpolder sewage works, north of Delft, are the biggest in the country and collect sewage water from areas where a quarter of the Dutch population lives. The virus can be found in the faeces of infected people, including those without symptoms. The goal is to identify a potential rise in the infection rate through the water tests and thus predict a possible second wave of the virus, giving the government more time to intervene to control the spread.
FEWER RESTRICTIONS FOR RESTAURANTS AND EARLIER REOPENING FOR GYMS AND CASINOS
From 1 July, gatherings of people in indoor spaces, including restaurants, will be unlimited as long as the 1,5 metre distance can be upheld, and visitors must be checked for symptoms before they enter. Initially there was going to be a limit of 100 people from 1 July. The ministerial crisis committee is expected to make this decision official during their final meeting on Wednesday, and it will be announced in a press conference later in the day by the PM and Health Minister. In addition , an announcement is due about the reopening of gyms, canteens, casinos and saunas, albeit under strict conditions. On Tuesday, the entertainment and hospitality industries protested on the Malieveld against the current measures. They hope to see a lifting of restrictions related to organised events.
These news updates are brought to you by www.dutchbuzz.nl, in cooperation with The Hague’s official broadcaster, Omroep West.
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