Myself and two friends doing 9/11 activism in the Netherlands were kicked off of the streets in The Hague, the capital city of the United Nations and the seat of parliament in the Netherlands. We had done a trial run on 8/11 in a smaller town called Leiden, which is just 10 miles outside of The Hague and that went well. We passed out a handful of flyers and had some good discussions, as well as numerous strange looks. Today, however, we didn't have so much luck.
We set up in the early afternoon with bright yellow t-shirts carrying slogans such as "9/11 = INSIDE JOB" and "HERONDERZOEK 9/11" ("REINVESTIGATE 9/11"), with a sign of 4 standard size sheets of paper (A4/Letter) stapled together reading "9/11 TRUTH NOW", and with a bag full of homemade 9/11 flyers reading in Dutch or English. About 10 minutes after starting, we were confronted by 3 police officers and told to shut down our "demonstration" immediately. They said that they had seen us on the cameras and came out to stop us due to "anonymous" complaints. We calmly explained that all we were doing was standing somewhere and allowing interested people to come ask us what we were doing, rather than shouting or passing a flyer into every hand we could. The law, according to these officers, is that we needed a permit. The officers insisted that - for our safety - we left the streets. The question of course is, safety from whom?
Two of the officers were actually quite friendly, and had seen Loose Change and agreed with a lot of what we said about 9/11. The third was a bit more... rough, and tried to intimidate us with fines to leave the scene immediately. When we asked if it would be OK to take down our sign and put away the flyers, and simply stand around and talk to interested people, he said that we would need a permit for the shirts. That's right - in Holland, in order to stand on the street, wearing a 9/11-related shirt, and talk to people who come and ask you questions, requires permission. IT IS ILLEGAL TO STAND ON THE STREET AND TALK TO PEOPLE WITHOUT PERMISSION. The officers took our identification, addresses, and phone numbers. The two more kindly officers actually chatted for a bit, took our flyer and read it over, and even the copy of Zeitgeist we offered them. Of course, to offer such benevolence to the common street folk is surely a crime deserving punishment! The rougher of the three even commanded that we take off our shirts and throw away the sign... the other two realized this was unreasonable and allowed us to walk back to the train station - so long as we kept the sign low to the ground and not high enough to be read.
Back in Leiden, where we had successfully passed out a number of flyers last week, we set up on the same corner and took down the sign this time around. We were immediately confronted again with police (we imagine The Hague called Leiden and told them to watch out for us, since they knew where we lived), but this time we were allowed to stand on the street as long as we didn't initiate conversations and didn't hold up the sign. They stuck around for a while to make sure we weren't talking to anyone, and that they came to talk to us first and ask for a flyer, rather than us being able to pass them out at will. After an hour or so of not being able to talk with police right around the corner, we called it a day.
One thing I can say is that I'm glad we weren't doing this in the States - after all of the police brutality videos and handcuff-happy police you see there, I think we got off easy. I just wish these officers would listen to someone like Alex Jones and realize that they ARE the problem, and they need to stop following orders and learn to distinguish threat from peace.
We're going to apply for a permit to pass out our flyers in The Hague and Amsterdam on 9/11 itself, and I'll post our videos up as we get the footage in - we've got 2 video cameras among the 3 of us, so expect some footage from here in the near future. Until then....
Edward Greve, 8/18/2007
P.S. If you're interested in helping us out here in The Netherlands, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Big Brother | Europe | police
Photo: G8 Genua - 21 july 2001 - http://archive.indymedia.be/news/2003/09/73341.html