Engel is suspected of having called on his supporters to take violent action against the police officers present on Facebook during the filming of his arrest during an unannounced demonstration on October 10, 2020. He called for officers to be arrested by civilian detention. “Yes, but then maybe we should put officers under civilian arrest, because this ehhh because they are now taking hostage, isn’t it?”
In addition, he is accused of not having responded to the mayor’s call to end the demonstration.
In the courtroom, Engel announced that he had only heard the call in question when he was already in the arrest van. That he could not have heard it before, witnesses could confirm. He wanted to have it heard by the court. His call to do so was honored by the judge, as a result of which the hearing was postponed. It is not yet clear when the case will continue.
The request to also hear the mayor of The Hague Jan van Zanen was rejected. Engel and his lawyer wanted to know on what basis the demonstration should be dissolved. The fact that nothing was in writing was reason for mr. Van de Corput to call Van Zanen as a witness. The judge put a stop to this.
On that Saturday evening about a hundred people had come to Het Plein to protest against the corona emergency law that was being discussed in the Chamber at that time. Earlier in the evening, the police had already dismissed those present. This was initially heeded, but by 9 p.m. the demonstrators were back. The protesters were again ordered to leave. Engel was arrested with four others on the Hofweg, a side street off the Haagse Plein. He was then banned from the area for ten days from The Hague.
Engel has been in court in The Hague before. As the foreman of Virus Truth, he has already conducted lawsuits against the government about the corona measures. In most cases, judges rejected the claims. The group had success once with a lawsuit against the curfew. After this, the government appealed and a new emergency law was passed.
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