Declaration by the Ministry of Justice and Security about emergency meeting with the police and Public Prosecution Service concerning the protests by farmers

This morning, the Minister of Justice and Security, the police and the Public Prosecution Service (OM) held an emergency meeting on the farmers’ protests of the past few days, the motorway blockades by Extinction Rebellion and the protests during which unacceptable slogans were chanted.

A line has been crossed: these are not demonstrations, these are not protests, they are illegal actions, or even criminal activities which those involved should not be allowed to get away with. The Public Prosecution Service and the police will be responding forcefully, together with the competent authority and this will include the option of issuing fines and retrospective prosecution. The identities of the perpetrators will also be established and registered. The Public Prosecution Service is under the impression that serious criminal offences were committed on Monday evening and two people have since been arrested. Such actions undermine support for the right to demonstrate, which  right should not be abused.

Several motorways were blocked on Monday evening, agricultural vehicles were driven onto the motorway, fireworks were set off and fires started. Such actions cause dangerous situations for road users and the emergency services. A review has now been carried out of the actions of the protesters, the enforcement measures taken and the possible prosecution of the activists suspected of serious misconduct. 

A national Large-Scale Special Operations Unit started work yesterday. This means that the police will make preparations at national level to ensure that they can be deployed and can allocate police capacity quickly, so that they can act as effectively as possible, including in the event of future incidents involving such criminal offences. In the coming period, direct action will be taken wherever possible against activists who commit crimes and ultimately they will face retrospective fines and prosecution.