The police should have intervened immediately yesterday when journalists were attacked by churchgoers. The Association of Editors-in-Chief writes this in a statement in response to the incidents on Sunday. In Urk, the police initially kept in the background, in their own words in order not to escalate the case.
Journalists who wanted to interview churchgoers about the scrapping of the corona rules by churches of the Reformed Congregations, were kicked, threatened and beaten. In Urk, a churchgoer ran into a journalist from Powned near the Sionkerk. It was unharmed. The driver could just attend the service, he was arrested last night.
“These direct attacks on journalism are unacceptable and an attack on freedom of the press,” the Society writes. The editors-in-chief want an interview with the police and the Public Prosecution Service about the “inadequate behavior” of the police. Few agents were on the scene and they took late action against the suspects, the statement said.
This is how the incident in Urk went:
The police said yesterday that action was only taken in the second instance to quickly restore peace and prevent the situation from getting out of hand. In contrast, the Society argues that journalism must be protected on the spot when it comes down to it.
The Sion Church in Urk and the Mieras Church in Krimpen aan den IJssel said last week that they would fully open their churches again on Sunday to meet the psychological distress among the faithful. Hundreds of people attended the services yesterday, they did not wear mouth masks, were allowed to sing and did not have to keep a distance of 1.5 meters. A journalist was attacked from the back at the church in Krimpen; that attacker was immediately arrested.
The church council of the Old Reformed Congregation in Krimpen aan den IJssel has apologized for “the incident that took place outside the church building”. “This should not have happened,” the consistory writes on its website.