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NOS News•today, 08:38
Mayor Reinie Melissant of Gorinchem received death threats on Monday morning at the busy weekly market. A man in clogs complained about the mayor’s ‘power’ and then shouted “the bullets are coming”.
Melissant was welcomed by bystanders and subsequently reported the incident to the police. According to Rijnmond, the same man also threatened the mayor last summer. Then he waited for Melissant at her house and shouted: “the time has come. I’m going to kill you.”
Melissant (CDA) has been mayor of Gorinchem since 2017 and was reappointed in August.
Last summer the attacker suddenly appeared in front of her home. Melissant walked outside and saw him watching her. He then issued his death threat. She fled into her house. She also filed a report then. But because there were no audio recordings or witnesses, the case was dismissed by the Public Prosecution Service.
When he received a new death threat last Monday, the same man did not care about the shoppers. Before he made his comment about the bullets, he started complaining. He shouted that he is ‘autonomous’ and does not have to listen to the mayor. Then he strode away. The police confirm the report and investigate. As far as we know, the man has not yet been arrested.
The General Intelligence and Security Service (AIVD) describes autonomists as a ‘sub-movement’ within a larger group of people who are anti-government. The service does not know exactly how many people are involved. It is estimated that there are around 10,000. Autonomous people believe that Dutch laws and regulations do not apply to them and refuse, for example, to pay health insurance premiums or taxes.
Revenge for home closing
Mayor Melissant was also threatened in 2021, then by a 53-year-old resident of the city. Melissant had closed his home after a drug discovery. The man then threatened to drive his car into the mayor’s house as revenge.
Local and regional politicians increasingly report that they encounter aggression because of their work. This is evident from the Integrity and Safety Monitor from 2022. About half of the mayors, aldermen, councilors and members of Parliament have experience with it.
On Monday it was announced that Mayor Boy Scholtze van Drimmelen was threatened and insulted at the town hall in Made because of his orientation. The 76-year-old suspect also tried to run over the mayor, the police announced.