Organizers of action Kaag do not understand commotion about ‘convivial’ torches

- Advertisement -spot_imgspot_img

Minister Kaag will talk to the demonstrators with torches
NOS News

The demonstrators in Diepenheim wanted to give Minister Sigrid Kaag a “warm welcome” yesterday. That included the burning torches, say the organizers of the protest. Kaag was met by a group of about fifty demonstrators. Some carried flaming torches. The minister himself then spoke of an “atmosphere of intimidation and insecurity”.

One of the organizers, Gert Jan Lansink, called the arrival of the Minister of Finance to their village the “excellent moment to make our voices heard”. The demonstrators wanted to raise the situation among “the farmers, the fishermen, but also the ordinary citizens”. “We are gradually no longer able to make ends meet,” says Lansink.

A “warm welcome”, the organizers emphasize. Prime Minister Rutte does find the action intimidating:

Torchbearers do not understand the commotion, Rutte finds action unacceptable

The reception of the minister and D66 leader with burning torches went down the wrong way with many people. Prime Minister Rutte calls waiting for Minister Kaag “completely unacceptable”. Many other party leaders also expressed their disapproval.

Kaag came to the village in Twente to participate in a political café and talked to the villagers. Kaag thought the torches had “something medieval”, she said today. “There are also associations with the Ku Klux Klan (racist movement in the US, ed.). If you demonstrate with burning torches, your message is: fire hazard. That has nothing to do with peaceful demonstration.”

According to Minister Kaag, the action represents something much bigger:

Kaag: ‘I will not be intimidated’

The organizers do not understand the commotion. “For us, a flame is a flame of coziness. An Easter fire is also cozy. It is warmth, and nothing else,” says Lansink. In his own words, he made no connection with the man who previously stood in front of Kaag’s house with a burning torch, and was convicted for this. For co-organiser Geral Jacobse, a flaming torch also represents “light and warmth”. “I wouldn’t feel threatened by that,” says Jacobse.

According to Lansink it was a “convivial day” and there was no aggression or intimidation. The two Diepenheimers find the reactions from politicians exaggerated. “I have neither banned nor embraced the torch. If you want to take it with you, do so.” Lansink and Jacobse say that emotions are running high in the village because “the farmers are being taken away from their life’s work”.

‘No reason to ban it’

Intimidating or not, it is not forbidden to bring torches to a demonstration, says Ira Helsloot, professor of Governance and Security at Radboud University. “Demonstration is actually always allowed. I don’t really see why it would be fun or useful to bring torches, but there is no formal ground to ban it. Whether it came across as intimidating, you can test afterwards.”

It is not yet clear whether the Public Prosecution Service is investigating possible criminal offences. Whether there will be an investigation depends, among other things, on whether a report is made. No one was arrested yesterday.

  • Kaag thought torches have ‘something medieval’, ‘or from the Ku Klux Klan’
  • Kaag was met in Twente by demonstrators with burning torches
  • Interior

Share article:

- Advertisement -spot_imgspot_img
Latest news
- Advertisement -spot_img
Related news
- Advertisement -spot_img