Extinction Rebellion, the super spontaneous, not at all professionally coordinated activist group is receiving royal treatment in The Netherlands:
On April 26, small groups of activists were blocking roads in Amsterdam (forcing motorists to take a detour or wait several minutes, which apparently helps the environment). Police in some cases dit not respond, and in other cases were present but did not take action.
Compare this to the band of Frisians who blocked traffic to prevent far-left protesters to crash the Saint Nicholas parade last December. They were convicted and sentenced to 100 to 240 hours (the maximum) of community service (no fines, since it was already clear that any fines would be fully crowdfunded within hours), and were even forced to give up DNA samples for registry in a national database – which was later overturned by a judge.
The intimidation and repression by the state of a group of people standing up for national cultural heritage is overwhelmingly clear. No other groups who have blocked roads in protest have seen similar treatment.
Nevertheless, Extinction Rebellion continued its protests during King’s Day in Amersfoort, where they were given a prima location along the route that the king and his entourage were to follow. Usually, no protests or political statements are allowed near the officially ‘politically neutral’ King’s Day celebrations. Even if protests would take place, state news broadcaster NOS would generally make a point of not showing any statements or activism on TV, but Extinction Rebellion enjoyed ample airtime.
Martin Bosma of Geert Wilders’ Party For Freedom (PVV) is asking the minister of internal affairs (responsible for both the monarchy and the public broadcasting network) why activists who are known to have broken the law were allowed near the national celebrations, why the activists were not positioned out of sight of the cameras, how the NOS was involved (since they appeared to have been prepared for the protest), and if all activist groups would now be granted prominent protest spots during future King’s Days or if this is ‘solely for slavish left-wing activists’.