Status: 02/17/2021 02:16 a.m.
At noon, Willem Engel had dreamed of spontaneous street parties and a lively night. The Hague judges had just confirmed that he and his colleagues in the Corona-skeptical movement “Virus Truth” were right and decided that the curfew had to be lifted immediately.
The administrative court ruled that the curfew was a serious interference with the right to freedom of movement and privacy. In front of the microphones of the waiting journalists, Engel presented himself as the triumphant winner.
We’re going to have a party tonight. We are set free. I think that at 9 p.m. all the places in the country are full of people dancing to quickly take away the last day of the carnival.
The government had challenged the verdict and demanded that the “avondklok”, the evening curfew, remain in force at least until a final decision is made on the matter next Friday. Judge Marie Tan de Sonnaville approved this cabinet motion that evening.
What happens if we decide differently in the main hearing than the first instance? The n the curfew will be reintroduced. If we decide the same way at the main hearing, the curfew will be lifted a few days later than today. And we find that under these circumstances, the interests of the state weigh more heavily.
A time gain for Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s cabinet. But the legal concerns remain. In the first instance, the court complained that the government had enforced the curfew without the consent of both houses of parliament. Instead, the government relied on an emergency law that can be used in an acute danger situation.
Rutte defends decision
The judges ruled that such a particularly dangerous emergency situation could be a natural disaster such as a dike breach, but not in this case. But in view of the increasing number of virus mutations, Prime Minister Rutte defended his decision.
The aim is to get the coronavirus under control as well as possible so that we can soon regain all of our freedoms, but in a safe way. That’s why we introduced the curfew. And that has not changed today.
After the curfew came into effect on January 23, there were violent riots across the country for three nights. After that it remained largely calm – not least because the judiciary had imposed drastic penalties on rioters and vandals.
The judges will have the last word on the controversial “avondklok” on Friday.