25,000 demonstrate against cuts

22 September 2003

25,000 demonstrate against cuts

Around 25,000 people from throughout the Netherlands gathered in Amsterdam on Saturday to demonstrate against the government’s proposed cuts in social services, welfare and education. The turn-out was more than twice as great as expected by the organisers, the Action Committee "Turn the Tide", and was confirmed by police as accurate.

Jan Marijnissen

Jan Marijnissen speaks at the demo

The demonstration began with speeches by Jan Marijnissen and other political leaders. SP leader Marijnissen told the crowd that Prime Minister Balkenende, despite his supposed Christian Democrat affiliations, was putting into practice the most extreme ideas of the hard right VVD, his main coalition partner. PvdA (Labour Party), GroenLinks (Green Left) and FNV (National Trade Union Federation) leaders also addressed the crowd.


Demonstrators on the Dam

As well as members of the three political parties, the demonstration was well-supported by trade union branches, environmentalist groups, immigrant organisations and religious associations.

SP MPs Anja Meulenbelt, Jan Marijnissen and Agnes Kant at the head of the march

Having heard the speeches, the demonstrators marched from the Dam to the Museumplein, where six tents had been set up for debates, theatre performances and music, while over fifty organisations distributed information about their activities. Many demonstrators participated in discussions on such topics as education, the environment and the plight of refugees. Given the sun and heat, others preferred a quick dip in Museumplein’s ponds.

The "Turn the Tide" Action Committee is determined to make Saturday’s successful demonstration the beginning a series of actions, which, according to one Committee spokesperson, will continue "until the government’s plans have been dropped and an end has been put to its hard right policies." The next demonstration is planned for November, with simultaneous actions taking place in dozens of towns across the country.

You are here