Den Haag: Criminalization and silencing of De Vloek, judge also prohibits demonstration

The demonstration planned for this coming Saturday against the eviction and demolition of De Vloek has been banned by the Mayor of The Hague. Even the judge decided to support the city’s fallacies. We are calling on everybody to come this Saturday at 15:00 to the Kerkplein to NOT demonstrate together.

Protesting has been made impossible and we will also let this be known. We will assemble on the Kerkplein with tape on our mouths. Demonstrating has been prohibited, but coming together on the Kerkplein is not forbidden. To be able to demonstrate, one needs to have a right to free speech, and this has been taken away from us. We will symbolically illustrate this.

Because this demonstration would have involved many different people, including children and the elderly, we are canceling the demonstration. We have absolutely no faith in the empathy of The Hague police, and we don’t want children and elderly people to be beaten up by them.

But if the mayor thinks that we will allow ourselves to be criminalized and that we will stop all of our actions, then he is mistaken. From 26-28 december, an action weekend will take place for the preservation of De Vloek and other autonomous spaces. Three days full of actions, in The Hague.

The mayor has painted a picture of De Vloek and its supporters that doesn’t match with the reality of the situation. It is therefore alarming that the judge has so easily been fooled by the mayor’s lies. To justify his prohibition of the demonstration, the mayor cited such events as the squatting action at the Pier, where some people were arrested. This action was completely peaceful. The spontaneous demonstration that supporters marched in after the city council meeting on October 16 was also cited. After this spontaneous demonstration, the police spoke of a wounded police officer, but after questions from the CDA, it was apparent that the officer had simply twisted his knee on his own and that the demonstration was not to blame. The charges against the people arrested during the demonstration were dropped within two weeks.

“If you want to ban demonstrations because people were arrested during other useful actions, then you would have to ban all demonstrations organized by Greenpeace, for example. The right of assembly in the so-called city of peace and justice has become more severely limited. First they made the Schilderswijk a no-go area for expressing your opinion, after that all residential neighborhoods and the city center, and then van Aartsen extended these prohibitions for an indefinite period. And now we are not allowed to walk any demonstration at all. The right of assembly is not just an incidental expression of your rights, but a fundamental component of the freedom of expression” this according to Kwinten Keesmaat, spokesperson for De Vloek.

It is totally ridiculous that the mayor and the judge think that they are not taking away our right to demonstrate because we are allowed to stand on the Koekamp. On the Koekamp, you can only express your opinion to a few trees and deer. The location and route are not incidental, but a fundamental part of the right to demonstrate.

So come to the Kerkplein at 15:00 but leave your banners and opinions at home, because if you decide to demonstrate in the city of peace and justice, you will be arrested and beaten with nightsticks.

Stop the criminalization of De Vloek! De Vloek will stay!