Some 750 people demonstrated in Eindhoven’s city centre on Sunday afternoon against the government’s COVID-19 policy.
The demonstrators walked the ‘Walk of Freedom’ via a route outside the shopping area. They passed by two care centres that had been hit hard by the pandemic. Most protestors carried yellow umbrellas. These symbolised their support of ‘freedom’.
They also brandished banners. The marchers targetted the 1,5m rule, the testing policy, independent journalism and vaccinations. They also mentioned a ‘mandatory vaccination’. Even though there’s no such thing in the Netherlands.
“I’m participating … because we have no say in our democracy. It’s a fake democracy,” said a woman carrying the banner. She doesn’t agree with the COVID-19 measures and doesn’t quite trust the relaxations: “One snap of the finger and we can lose our freedom again.”
A man with a megaphone called on bystanders to film the march and spread the images on the internet. “We’re fed up with all the measures; they don’t work. We’ve been in a hopeless state for 18 months for nothing.”
He also spoke out against vaccinations “I’m not going to get vaccinated. I’m not a guinea pig.”
‘I don’t agree’
A man who lives along the route of the march stood watching. “I don’t agree with them,” he says. “I belong to the risk group. I’m delighted when other people get vaccinated.”
Mayor Jorritsma gave permission last week for a demonstration with a maximum of 3,000 participants. He also plotted the route with the organisers. The organisers had to, ironically, ensure the protesters follow the COVID-19 rules.
The demonstration had to follow a set route. It started at 14:00 in the car park near the Effenaar. Marchers then moved along the Dommel and through Stratum to the Stadhuisplein. And then back via Vestdijk and Tramstraat, ending at 16:00.
This route was specifically chosen. The shopping area was expected to be full of people. This march proceeded without incident.
The previous large protest against the COVID-19 policy was on 24 January. That got out of hand. No permit had been issued for that demonstration. That’s because no official organisation was willing to take responsibility for its course.
Translator: Melinda Walraven