Dutch PM hammers 5G-related arsons; Urges Muslims to stay home for Ramadan

The spate of arsons connected to telecommunications transmission masts in the Netherlands “is literally life-threatening,” said Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte at his regular weekly press conference on Friday. Some 15 different incidents in recent weeks involve masts being set on fire, which were said to be linked to conspiracy theories about 5G.

Rutte would not address the theories directly. “But this can lead to emergency calls and 112 notifications not getting through properly. Emergency services are compromised,” he said. “It is about life and death. It is literally life-threatening.”

Among the conspiracy theories floating around the internet is one that suggests that 5G weakens the body’s pulmonary system, making victims more susceptible to a coronavirus infection.

Rutte did not give a substantive response to a report by broadcaster NOS that the mayors of major cities in the Netherlands want a ban on all summer events at least through August, and possibly September. For the time being, large events are banned through June 1.

Speculation about the extension of restrictions, and the possibility of new restrictions has made it difficult for some organizations, like event promoter Mojo Concerts and football association KNVB, have called for more clarity so they can decide what events must be cancelled.

Rutte said no new measures, including any measures taken to ban events during the summer, would be announced prior to a public announcement expected on Tuesday. That date, April 21, is exactly one week before some social distancing measures in the Netherlands are set to expire.

This comes as several majors have urged the cabinet to cancel the summer’s entire events program, a ban that would be in effect until either Sep. 1 or Oct.1, sources told NOS. These most notably include the Pride Amsterdam event, all summertime festivals, as well as all professional football fixtures.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte has called on Dutch Muslims to make sure that they observe social distancing measures during the month of Ramadan.

Ramadan, which commences on Thursday next week, is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and is observed by Muslims worldwide as a period of fasting. Each day of fasting ends with an iftar meal, shortly after sunset.

“I ask all Muslims of the Netherlands to spend this moment at home with the family,” Rutte said at a press conference on Friday, encouraging iftar to be taken at home and for religious congregations to be halted. The Prime Minster said that while he understands that mosques and other community organizations are busy during this period, he asks for cooperation. “We must do this together,” he added.

Rutte also affirmed to the public that the medical capacity in the Netherlands is under control, and says that it is “really crucial” that people speak with a doctor if they have medical difficulties.

Although one of the the problems with the pandemic is that it places a “tremendous pressure it puts on hospitals,” Rutte urges that people seek medical attention anyway, if necessary.

“Go to the doctor, who will send you to hospital if necessary,” Rutte said. “There is space in the hospitals, there is a place in the ICUs, for acute care, for example [for people] with serious heart complications and other serious conditions.”

“What we are now looking at is to very careful to be able to resume regular care,” he adds.