Mayor Jan van Zanen of The Hague said he could indeed authorize the use of military equipment to remove blockades or tractors in his city on March 11. On that date, the upcoming Saturday, both climate activists and farmers are set to demonstrate in the Zuid-Holland city.
“I am not going to rule out the possibility that Defense equipment will be deployed. That is available if necessary,” he said in an interview with De Telegraaf. He has also asked police forces elsewhere in the country to provide officers to assist.
“We cannot handle this alone,” Van Zanen told De Telegraaf. “Also to ensure that the demonstrations are safe.”
Farmers’ organization Farmers Defense Force (FDF) hopes to attract 100,000 people for a demonstration in the Zuiderpark in The Hague next Saturday. Climate activists from Extinction Rebellion also plan to block the A12 motorway near The Hague again that day.
And at the same time, construction of tents for the the construction of tents for the City-Pier-City half-marathon race will also be underway. The annual race is scheduled for Sunday starting at the Malieveld.
Van Zanen says he will not consider banning any of the planned demonstrations for the time being. He called on those demonstrating to ensure that they can cherish a “great right.” That forces him to be “radically neutral.”
But there are limits, he said. “Blocking a road indefinitely with people or equipment is not an acceptable way of demonstrating, but a blockade,” he told the newspaper. “I think that’s a disruption of public order.”
Reporting by ANP