Dozens of torch-bearing protesters confront Dutch Finance Min. at talk show appearance

A few dozen demonstrators confronted D66 leader Sigrid Kaag in Diepenheim (Overijssel) when she arrived to participate in the political talk show Politiek in de Pol late Sunday afternoon. Some were carrying flaming torches.

Kaag briefly spoke with the demonstrators, but it was difficult to hold a conversation. According to Kaag, the demonstrators “didn’t really want to talk,” and it was difficult to hear because sirens kept going off. Kaag was disappointed that she could not converse with them, D66 parliamentarian and campaign manager Hanneke van der Werf said. The whole thing took about 10 minutes. When the D66 leader left at around 8:00 p.m., the demonstrators had left.

Videos of the protest are circulating on social media, including one referring to “Max.” Earlier this month, Max van den B. was convicted on appeal for threatening Kaag with a flaming torch at her home last year. He stood at the Minister’s home with the torch, shouting conspiracy slogans. Kaag has also been under increased security for some time due to threats.

The Minister of Finance was in the country’s east on Sunday to campaign for the Provincial Council elections in mid-March. The day ended with the talk show, according to Van der Werf.

A flyer by Strijders Twente was making the rounds in Diepenheim, calling on locals to give Kaag a “warm welcome.” Kaag was aware of the demonstration before her arrival, and the police were at the scene. When she arrived in Diepenheim, people were waiting for her on tractors, shouting: “You are not for the Netherlands.” There was a lot of criticism of the government and politics.

Van der Werf said that the D66 would not adjust its election campaign because of what happened on Sunday.

Several politicians criticized the demonstrators. Minister Wopke Hoekstra of Foreign Affairs called it “an absolute disgrace” that Kaag was harassed again. “Let everyone, including ALL politicians, do their job normally, in complete safety. Listening and talking to each other is important. Especially if you disagree.”

BBB leader Caroline van der Plas criticized the protesters. “Don’t know which nitwits in Diepenheim thought it would be nice to bring torches, but maybe those guys should think about what it’s like if someone shows up at your door with a torch shouting to you to come outside. I”m not a fan of the D66 at all, but be normal!”

Reporting by ANP and NL Times

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