Our country is full of demonstrations. Not surprising, because in 2022 there is enough to complain about: homelessness, the corona pandemic and the climate.
Every weekend citizens make their voices heard, and rightly so. And although there is nothing wrong with the advance of demonstrations, I only encourage that, it is no longer a question of having a nice coffee.
Tensions are running high between protesters and the long bar. All kinds of misery rages on during those meetings. Fortunately, for many people, January is the month to change behaviour, at least if I have the Dry Januarycult must believe. That’s why I think it’s time for something ground rules for the parties involved. Good demonstration intentions, so to speak.
Let’s start at the top. Goodbye mayors and mothers, please that finger of the stop button. Last year, mayors resorted to a ban far too easily. The right to demonstrate has been curtailed in this way too often. Often for no good reason. Because demonstrators could not keep their distance, for example. Or did not want to wear a mouth cap.
But after two years of coronetteketet, those are really no longer valid reasons for limiting such a great fundamental right. People are no longer sitting at a distance of one and a half meters on public transport. And let me say nothing about the house parties. Why would it not be possible to demonstrate in the open air? Bans only lead to more misery, such as illegal demonstrations culminating in violent clashes.
Give protesters plenty of room! Make sure that they can come together in a large place, where this can be done at a safe distance. And if people are too close to each other: do not intervene directly with the baton.
And speaking of that baton… Dear police officers, riot police and Romeos without Juliet: you have a monopoly on violence. But such a great right comes with an even greater responsibility: you can use force, but not just like that. And the police brutality is rampant.
Camera images go all over the world and the commentary is not tender. In fact, a UN chief called the police crackdown one of the most disgusting cases of police brutality he’d seen since the George Floyd murder, and a Taliban leader wondered why the Netherlands is judging Afghanistan.
Of course I know that people in uniform work under harsh conditions. And that video images should be seen in context. But in 2022, please stick to the ground rules: de-escalate and don’t provoke. First warn with mouth. Only if that doesn’t work, you can use force. But only if it is necessary, and if the violence is proportionate to the goal. Never more violence than necessary.
If one blow is enough, leave it at that. Please continue to be careful with the use of weapons. With the baton only on arms and legs, not on the head. And don’t use the police dog as a weapon anymore. Far too risky, because Fikkie doesn’t always stop biting when the owner calls out ‘let go’. In addition, it remains pure animal abuse. Come on guys, in 2022 things should be different, right?
Finally: dear wappies, corona critics and all-round concerned citizens, I haven’t forgotten you. Demonstrate is awesome. Enjoy! But demonstrate peacefully at all times. Using violence against aid workers is abject. And also not very smart: before you know it, you’re going to jail for months.
I don’t need to see idiotic gallows, torches and other disgusting tinkering this year either. Listen to the police when they tell you to leave. And let that wannabearmy outfits at home. You’re not a veteran, Harry. It is also strictly forbidden to wear such suits.
Demonstrating is the greatest good in a free society. Time to do it too with the matching respect to treat. If we all stick to these good intentions a little, demonstrating will be more beautiful in 2022. And that will only make society better.