Mayor of Vijfheerenlanden should not have restricted the protest of Foundation Rabbit in Need

Stichting Konijn in Nood (Foundation Rabbit in Need) has been vindicated on all points raised by PILP on its behalf against the decision of the mayor of Vijfheerenlanden. The mayor should not have imposed the restrictions on the protest of Stichting Konijn in Nood so simply.

Stichting Konijn in Nood stands up against the bad circumstances rabbits have to live under in the livestock industry. Therefore a protest was organized at a rabbit breeding farm in Vijfheerenlanden.

Because of the risk of hostile listeners and because of the pressure on traffic, the foundation and the protesters were not allowed to protest for the desired 90 minutes, but only for 50 minutes. In addition, they were not allowed to use a megaphone. They were also not allowed to come by car themselves, so they had to hire an (expensive) tour bus.

On January 14, 2022, the PILP, on behalf of Stichting Konijn in Nood, objected to the mayor’s decision regarding the regulations and restrictions imposed on the foundation’s demonstration that took place on December 18, 2021.

The government should facilitate and protect a protest as much as possible, so that demonstrators can exercise their right to demonstrate and freedom of expression at their preferred location, time and in the preferred form. The wishes of the demonstrators can only be deviated from, if that is necessary and proportional, and if it is based on the legal possibilities for restrictions from the Constitution and the Public Manifestations Act. The mayor must then properly justify why a restriction is necessary.

The mayor followed the advice of the committee on objections Vijfheerenlanden and agreed with all the points of the objection of Stichting Konijn in Nood. The mayor concluded that the prohibition to use a megaphone is a violation of the right to demonstrate. Also, the mayor had not properly justified why the protest could only last 50 minutes and why the demonstrators were only allowed to come to the demonstration by touring car. When the next demonstration will take place, the mayor promised to follow the advice of the committee on these points. He also promised to carefully consider whether a restriction is necessary.