A human chain was formed in the Grote Markt on the evening of Thursday 21 May in protest against the cabinet’s decision not to take in 500 refugee children from the Greek camps. It is an initiative of two Haarlem friends who no longer want to stand helplessly on the side. They want to do a chain every week.
Josine Nolet and Wera de Lange have set up the Action Committee on Refugee Children (Vluchtelingenkinderen) Haarlem.
“We as citizens are very dissatisfied with the cabinet’s decision not to take in orphan children refugees and instead hand out a bag of money and say ‘We’ll help you, we’ll coach you, but stay there.’ “
The protesters stood for more than half an hour across the square of Grote Markt in the centre of Haarlem and all were holding a sign in their hands that had a solitary word on it: ‘Shame.’ One protestor explained: “It is because we don’t take in children and that’s a real shame.” A young woman from Haarlem has created a protest sign decorated with hearts. “There are children there without a mother and a father and I find it very sad.”
And another campaigner says that she is proud to be a Haarlemmer, because the municipality of Haarlem is one of the 52 municipalities, which called for 500 children from Greek refugee camps to come to the Netherlands before the cabinet’s decision, as Germany has already done, for example.
Protesting with corona-safety
Wera de Lange of the action committee had a lot of communication with the police because gathering 100 people on the Grote Markt during this time is a challenge. But the mayor has granted permission and the protesters are all put with crayon street signs no less than 2 meters away. “We want to do it very nicely and with safety,” says Wera.
Josine is super satisfied with the turnout of the first demonstration. She has previously taken action with her son Joshua Nolet, singer of the Haarlem band Chef’Special. He was already posting about it on Instagram since Monday. But Josine and Wera want more: “It has to spread all over the Netherlands like an oil slick.” They will continue until the cabinet returns and revises the decision.