If you complain on Twitter about the migrant crisis in Holland, you might get a visit from the cops.
That’s what happened to Mark Jongeneel, a small business owner in the small city of Sliedrecht. On January 11 Jongeneel tweeted:
— Mark Jongeneel (@mjhjongeneel) January 11, 2016
“The college of Sliedrecht has a proposal to receive 250 refugees in the coming 2 years. What a bad plan! #letusresist”
This mild rebuke is apparently considered sedition and an incitement to riot by the Dutch state. Cops found their way to Jongeneel’s office and warned him not to criticize the government’s migrant policy.
“I asked them what the problem was. And they said, ‘Your tweets,'” Jongeneel told the German newspaper Deutsche Welle. “You tweet a lot. We have orders to ask you to watch your tone. Your tweets may seem seditious.”
“And they asked me to be careful about my Twitter behavior, because if there are riots, then I’m responsible.”
“Freedom of speech is very important, and I will not be silenced,”he said.
Jongeneel is not alone. In December a man named Johann from the town of Kaatsheuvel posted to his Facebook: “Just had a visit from the police with the friendly request not to call for a meeting at the market tomorrow or Monday.”
The meeting was to be a protest of a plan by the city to house 1,200 migrants.
“There was a meeting in the council hall, an information evening, just for the people of our city. Johann wrote a message on Facebook—that we had to get together at the market square to have a protest, because, I will be very honest, we’re not happy with the asylum seekers in our country,” a friend of Johann told Deutsche Welle.
The friend did not want to be identified for fear of losing his job. He said even or eight other people he knows were also visited by police.
According to Deutsche Welle visits by police are part of a program in response to social media posts the government finds objectionable.
“Local authorities let social media users know in advance that they’re walking a fine line, and they also inform those users that they could face incitement charges if their calls for protests ultimately result in violence,” the newspaper reports.
In Germany citizens who complain about migrants often become the subject of criminal investigations. Judges impose fines and probation time. “It’s not politically correct to say anything against migrants. We don’t have freedom of opinion anymore,” a German from Hanover tweeted on January 5.
Prior to the current tidal wave of migrants the Swedish government passed a law permitting the state to prosecute citizens for criticizing the nation’s immigration policy or blaming politicians for turning Sweden into a third world country.
“I do not think it takes very many prosecutions before a signal is transmitted in the community that the internet is not a lawless country, the sheriff is back in town,” said parliament member Andrew Norlén.
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