Not only the United States, but also the Netherlands has "systemic problems" with racism and discrimination. "This is not just an American phenomenon," said Prime Minister Mark Rutte on Tuesday in response to anti-racism demonstrations.

The prime minister responded to the death of George Floyd, an African-American who was killed in police violence in Minneapolis last week.

"The images from the United States are very intense. What happened there is unacceptable. It is not only in the US that people feel that they do not count fully, that they do not have full access to the dream that a country collectively has tries to live up to. Here is also racism, here too is discrimination, "said Rutte. "I understand 1000 percent that people take action against that."

The prime minister did not want to speak of institutional racism, but spoke of "systemic problems".

"People in the Netherlands also experience that they are not judged on their future, but on their past. People who are not addressed as individuals, but on the group from which they arise. Not on their behavior, but on their faith. This affects a lot of people in the Netherlands ", says Rutte.

The Prime Minister could not give concrete solutions or proposals for improvements. "An action plan doesn't work," he said. "I can norm. And I norm here: this country does not accept this."

Rutte: "There is also a pandemic going on, stick to the 1.5 meter"

Floyd was killed in Minneapolis last week. He was arrested for a minor offense, after which a cop held his knee on Floyd's neck for minutes, who died soon after. Floyd's death sparked violent protests in many American cities. Many cities outside the US have also been protesting for several days. This is also the case in the Netherlands, although this did not always follow the corona regulations.

Rutte said he was shocked by the images on the Dam. "The images showed that things went wrong there."

On Monday, five thousand people gathered on Dam Square in Amsterdam to protest against Floyd's death. Due to the crowds, it turned out to be impossible to keep a distance of 1.5 meters everywhere. The prime minister calls the form in which the demonstration took place 'irresponsible'. "There is also a global pandemic going on. Stick to that five feet."

Rutte does not intend to ban the demonstrations. "Demonstrating is a fundamental right." The question of whether a demonstration is useful should never be a reason not to follow the rules. Rutte therefore asks the protesters to observe the rules. According to the prime minister, keeping a distance and demonstrating can go hand in hand: "That was demonstrated by the protests on the Malieveld in The Hague and in Groningen yesterday".

Minister of Health Hugo de Jonge also called on all protesters to adhere to the rules of corona, especially because, according to the Deputy Prime Minister, the snow falls. "It is disappointing for many protesters that it has been about a meter and a half for days and not for the reason why they are standing there."

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Rutte on racism: 'People are also disadvantaged in the Netherlands'

'1.5 meters away is not negotiable'

The prime minister also responded to the demonstration in Amsterdam last Monday. Rutte said he was shocked by the images on the Dam. "The images showed that things went wrong there."

On Monday, five thousand people gathered on Dam Square in Amsterdam to protest against Floyd's death. Due to the crowds, it turned out to be impossible to keep a distance of 1.5 meters everywhere. The prime minister calls the form in which the demonstration took place 'irresponsible'.

Rutte emphasized that demonstration is a fundamental right, but that keeping a distance of 1.5 meters is not negotiable. The question of whether a demonstration is useful should never be a reason not to follow the rules. Rutte therefore asks the protesters to observe the rules. According to the prime minister, keeping a distance and demonstrating can go hand in hand: "That was demonstrated by the protests on the Malieveld in The Hague and in Groningen yesterday".

See also: Timeline: The week of protest after George Floyd's death

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