On November 19th 2016, a group of 250 demonstrators joined at the Kerkplein to demonstrate against the growing repression against anarchists and antifascists in The Hague and further. Repression being the always prohibiting of demonstrations and the identifying of anarchists and antifascist to then take repressive measures against them. This demonstration has also been repressed with violence from the police and with the arrest of 166 people.
Now, almost two years later the public prosecutor decided to prosecute the 166 demonstrators that were arrested at the Kerkplein. De first 50 people had to show up in court last month. After two full days in court, the judge ruled on December 3rd and the first 50 people were acquitted. Yesterday (13/12/2018) the public prosecutor decided not to appeal and to dismiss the remaining cases.
The court case During the court case that lasted two days, a few things became clear. The police ended the demonstration at the Kerkplein, because some people were wearing face covering. In court it became clear, as our lawyers had already put forward, that there was no restriction on face coverings imposed by the mayor.
The police claimed in their file, that they assumed there was a restriction imposed on face coverings. The police also claimed that the mayor had given the order to end the demonstration. However, it did not become clear from the files who exactly gave that order. What it basically comes down to, is that the police decided on their own with using violence, to arrest, repress and deny demonstration rights because the demonstration simply did not please them.
Repression This occurrence fits the image of repression that the demonstration was aimed at. The police in The Hague has been targeting anarchists and antifascists in a sickening way. Demonstrations have been ended with violence, without orders from the mayor. Anarchists are being intimidated in their homes, with police raids, breaking of doors to collect for small fines and taking pictures of personal items. The list continues with area-bans, sky-high fines, attempts to recruit informants and the building of CTER* files.
This case shows clearly what has been happening so often in The Hague. The police decides on their own, people get arrested and acquitted later on or not prosecuted at all. Of course it is nice not to have to pay a fine, but in reality, on the streets nothing is changing. The police can do whatever they want to. They don’t care about us getting a fine or not. And if an arrest turns out to be unjustly, there are no consequences for the police. This is how they can effectively keep us off the street. And this is why we are not surprised that this spectacle of the police, judges and the police cell has repeated itself.
However, if they think that our fight for solidarity and a radically different world will stop, they are wrong. Let it be clear that no baton, officer or prison will stop us to fight for true freedom. Let us reflect on these events and create uncontrollable methods to continue to fight.