There is an increase in the number of reports of serious threats from MPs and government officials. That the police reported Friday. The Team Threatened Politicians (TBP) already received almost twice as many reports in the first nine months of this year compared to 2021. In the whole of last year, there were 588 reports. In the first nine months of 2022, more than a thousand alarms were received.
Both the seriousness of the incidents and the intensity of the cases have increased since the outbreak of the corona pandemic in 2020. Ruud Gründmann, team leader at the police, states that the number of threats “online and physical” has risen sharply since then. Pre-corona, in 2019, there were 393 reports, while 1,032 have already been made. The reports do not always lead to a report, but according to Gründmann they are characteristic of “this time”. He is referring to an increase in social unrest. The Endangered Politicians Team focuses on criminal threats against, among others, members of parliament, ambassadors or members of the Royal House.
Recent examples illustrate the seriousness of the threats. In January there was a man with a burning torch in front of the house of D66 leader Sigrid Kaag. Max van den B. was sentenced to six months in prison. Eleven men who protested in front of the house of Minister Christianne van der Wal (Nature and Nitrogen, VVD) this summer were given community service and suspended prison sentences. A 43-year-old man posted a death sentence on Facebook to Hugo de Jonge (Public Housing and Spatial Planning, CDA) and to Kaag in two weeks. He was jailed for five months, two of which were suspended.
Mayors and aldermen
Although the above-mentioned politicians recently filed a report, it appears from the Monitor Integrity and Security 2022 that the willingness to report is declining among administrators in the water boards, provincial councils and municipalities. They reported only 18 percent of the incidents. Nearly a quarter of those surveyed stated that a threat or incident “is part and parcel of political office.” In addition, female political officials are more likely to experience aggression or intimidation online than their male colleagues.
This week the House debated parliamentary rules of conduct. Various parties, including ChristenUnie and D66, no longer want to accept threats among themselves in parliamentary debates. This is how Sjoerd Sjoerdsma (D66) recently told in NRC that a threat about tribunals from fellow MP Pepijn van Houwelingen (FVD) immediately resulted in death threats shortly afterwards. One of his threateners was on trial this month.
On Friday it became clear that ministers Ernst Kuipers (Health, D66) and Karien van Gennip (Social Affairs, CDA) will report to FVD member Van Houwelingen for posting a tweet depicting the ministers with a Nazi flag. The House of Representatives often struggles with the expressions of that party. During the General Political Reflections, the entire cabinet left the room in response to the comments of leader Thierry Baudet. He suggested that Kaag might have been trained as a spy. Minister De Jonge previously stated that as Minister of Health he was threatened as a result of “conspiracy madness” that Baudet would spread.
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