Netherlands prepares for World War II remembrance amid Gaza security fears

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – The Netherlands was preparing for its annual World War II remembrance ceremony in Amsterdam on Saturday with restricted public access and heightened security as a result of the war in Gaza.

The city of Amsterdam announced earlier in the week that it would severely restrict attendance to the ceremony on the city’s central Dam square. The unprecedented security measures were intended to keep the ceremony safe and curb potential disturbances linked to the war in Gaza, the municipality said.

Dutch authorities have said the Israel-Hamas war and heightened insecurity in the Middle East have raised the risk of protests or disturbances.

Hundreds of thousands gather at Dam square and other places throughout the Netherlands on May 4 every year to hold two minutes of silence at 8:00 p.m. (1800 GMT) to commemorate the victims of World War Two.

This year only 10,000 people, who had to register to get an entrance ticket, will be allowed at the national commemoration in Amsterdam, and visitors will be searched.

Normally some 20,000 people attend the Dam commemoration without having to register.

At the March opening of a Holocaust Museum in Amsterdam, pro-Palestinian protesters who were opposed to Israel’s military campaign in Gaza set off fireworks and booed Israeli President Isaac Herzog as he arrived at the museum.


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