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Dutch police arrest 18 at pro-Palestinian sit-in at parliament

The Netherlands' PM hopeful Geert Wilders condemned the protesters as "leftist antisemitic scum."

Dutch police break up a pro-Palestinian protest in the parliament of the Netherlands, March 5, 2024. Source: Screenshot.
Dutch police break up a pro-Palestinian protest in the parliament of the Netherlands, March 5, 2024. Source: Screenshot.

Police in the Netherlands arrested 18 anti-Israel activists who staged a sit-in in the lobby of the Dutch parliament in The Hague on Tuesday, the country’s NOS public broadcaster reported.

Some 25 activists defied the ban on protests in the building, shouting slogans including “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” and “Zionists are the real terrorists,” according to eyewitness reports.

In a separate incident on Tuesday, pro-Palestinian agitators interrupted a debate in the plenary hall with chants of “Ceasefire now, Netherlands, shame, blood on your hands.” They were removed by security.

All suspects were released within hours pending a police investigation, the Telegraaf daily reported.

Geert Wilders, who has been attempting to form a government since his pro-Israel Freedom Party won a landslide victory in the Nov. 22 general election, condemned the protestors on X as “leftist antisemitic scum.”

“I’ve been working here, in this parliament, for about 25 years, and what I have heard and seen today, here in this room, but certainly also downstairs in the building, is pure hatred of Jews. It’s hatred of Israel. It’s antisemitism,” Wilders stated during a debate following the incidents.

“I’m ashamed that it is apparently possible that those people come in here and it takes half an hour before the police remove them,” he added, calling on authorities to “severely punish” the protestors.

Martin Bosma, a member of Wilders’ party who serves as the speaker of the House of Representatives, said he would file criminal charges and ban the activist group for four weeks, in a move that received broad support from lawmakers across the political spectrum.

Meanwhile, the pro-Islamist DENK party denounced the antisemitism charges, accusing Bosma of creating an “unsafe” environment for those “advocating for international law.”

In the aftermath of Hamas’s Oct. 7 massacre of 1,200 people in southern Israel, the Dutch parliament passed a motion that declared the chant, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” incitement to violence.

The motion, which was promoted by MP Diederik Van Dijk, a lawmaker of the Christian Zionist Reformed Political Party, notes that the controversial slogan is taken “straight from the Hamas charter and calls for the extermination of all Jews worldwide.”

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