Mayors working on long-term plan against polarization: ‘Virus is not going away’

The mayors are noticing more and more tensions in society. That said Hubert Bruls, the chairman of the Security Council, tonight.

‘Small group of boosters’

What the long-term planning to counter polarization looks like is not yet entirely clear. In any case, Bruls does not want to enter into a discussion with the ‘small group of boosters’, but only in discussion with the large majority who are open to arguments.

“Put your energy into that. Those other people are not prepared to listen and are therefore not convinced. It is precisely by strengthening the middle that the strength and the solution lie. Then the group of radicals will automatically become small again,” expects Bruls.

According to outgoing minister Ferd Grapperhaus (Justice), polarization has been going on for a few years. “Social media has an enormous stimulating and poisonous role in this. Those media should not be used for incitement and slandering,” he says.

Riots in Rotterdam

That incitement via, for example, the Telegram platform resulted in riots in cities such as Rotterdam. “Last weekend luckily it went well,” says Grapperhaus. He believes that agitators should not only be prosecuted, but should also be responsible for the damage they have caused.

Polarization costs the police a lot of effort, says police chief Martin Sitalsing of the Central Netherlands unit. He joined the Security Council. It also affects the neutrality of the police, he says.

Police neutrality

“That neutrality, which is a great asset for us, is coming up for discussion because the police are seen by radical groups as a symbol of government policy. That makes it complex,” says Sitalsing. “We want to be a police force for everyone and act as objectively as possible.”

The mayors will meet again next week to explore another topic. Later, all these meetings form the basis for a long-term strategy against corona.

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