Crowds of protesters gathered in Amsterdam’s Dam Square on Sunday for a 7km (4 mile) march through the city’s canal-lined streets and back to the square, all in protest of the center-right government’s coronavirus policies.
Video footage showed a seemingly endless column of protesters marching along the route, with some observers claiming that the actual group of demonstrators was up to 3km (1.8 miles) long.
Protesters claimed that upwards of 60,000 people were there, while local authorities put the attendance at 20,000. Either way, the city council urged Amsterdammers to stop showing up shortly before the start of the march at midday, saying the city center had become “too busy.”
The focus of the march was on the Dutch government’s plans to make proof of vaccination mandatory to enter restaurants, cafes, museums and other public spaces, as suggested by Health Minister Hugo de Jonge earlier this week. As such, protesters carried banners decrying “medical apartheid” and complained that vaccine passes “punish” the young and healthy who refuse to be vaccinated, local newspaper Het Parool reported.
Some of the protesters demonstrated against vaccines in general, calling them “poison,” while others came to stump for politicians opposing the so-called ‘vaccine passports’. Thierry Baudet, leader of the right-wing Forum for Democracy (FvD) party marched with the protesters, as did Wybren van Haga of the newly formed libertarian party Belang van Nederland (Dutch Interest). Bauded claimed after the march that 100,000 people had come out “to stand up against the medical dictatorship.”
More than just right-wing groups were present, with dance music fans, Hare Krishnas, religious organizations, pensioners, anarchists, bikers, former police officers and soldiers all among the crowds, according to local media reports.