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Open Letter to Amsterdam Mayor Femke Halsema



Last week, five Jewish Amsterdammers were arrested during a peaceful counter demonstration against a Neo-Nazi group. Landecker Fellow Jelle Zijlstra was among those arrested.

In light of this event, Jelle and Lievnath Faber, a Senior Landecker Fellow, co-wrote an Open Letter to Femke Halsema, the Mayor of Amsterdam. The Open Letter was published by Het Parool, a major Dutch newspaper.

The authors described their “crime” as “peacefully demonstrating against a well-known extremist group that was allowed to spread its hateful ideology on Africa Day.”

“When threatened with arrests – ordered by you as mayor – the demonstrators decided to end their action and leave. They were then followed by a group of men who turned out to be undercover police,” the Open Letter continues to explain how the Amsterdammers ended up spending several hours in cells.

Madam Mayor what went wrong?

The letter shows how the day was a textbook example of a “series of questionable decisions (by the mayor and the police) that showed how Amsterdam struggles with a completely misguided idea of how to combat racism and hatred.

Jelle and Lievnath are Landecker Democracy Fellows. This fellowship, a collaboration between the Alfred Landecker Foundation and Humanity in Action, was created to strengthen a new generation of leaders whose approaches to political and social challenges can become catalysts for democratic placemaking and community building. Read more about the fellowship here.