From Cairo to Cape Town, from Peking to Buenos Aires. Citizens from all over the world, including the Netherlands, are demonstrating against injustice in society. It’s not about political views: disapproval of the way wealth is divided unites left and right.
There have already been 'Occupy' protests in the US, Greece and Spain. On 15 October, there will be demonstrations in the Netherlands for a fair and just society. The tent camp on the Amsterdam Beursplein will be equipped with all the necessary facilities, from a play area for the children of the protesters to a cinema and first aid post.
“I think at least 700 people will be coming to the Beursplein in Amsterdam,” says Robin Celie from Occupy Amsterdam. On its website, 2000 people have already given their support. The organisation is only a few days old and the supporters are a mixed bunch.
“Every day, more people who want to take part come to our website. People of all ages, from different cultural and social backgrounds, support us and want to take part. I think Occupy Amsterdam will be even more diverse than Occupy Wall Street.”
Is the situation in the Netherlands so bad? “It’s not a protest against the Dutch government, but against the international system,” explains Seth Lievense, also from Occupy Amsterdam:
“One percent of the world population is gaining more and more power, while 99 percent can whistle for it. You could question how democratic a government can be if it’s subject to economic principles that allow this.”
The organisers don’t know yet what is going to happen on Saturday. They are giving people the opportunity to be heard, and the rest is up to each individual. A restaurant in the neighbourhood has offered to provide meals. Another sympathiser will organise a Wi-Fi connection.
In The Hague 800 people have registered, according to Laurens Foudraine from Occupy The Hague. Mr Foudraine signed on as soon as he realised the protests in Wall Street were coming to the Netherlands. He admits:
“Of course, you can’t change a global system just like that. It’s about sending out a signal. We hope it will get people thinking.”
Mr Foudraine doesn’t count on support from the government. “Its interests are too closely tied in with those of the business world.”
The movement doesn’t yet have concrete objectives for the future, admits Mr Foudraine:
“It starts with the debate being as open as possible. In the long run the people who are demonstrating might go into politics themselves. Maybe we can become a political party.”
Organisers of Occupy Amsterdam would like it to be more than just a one-day protest. Seth Lievense:
“It’s up to everyone to decide how long they stay. There are people who don’t want to stay the night. That’s not necessary. You contribute as much as you can.”
Being physically present at the Beursplein in Amsterdam is desirable, but not a must.
“It’s not a demonstration, but an appeal to everyone to think how things can be done differently. You can do this by going to the Beursplein, but also via the internet.”