Dutch soldiers stage budget cuts protest
About 400 soldiers quartered at the Johannes Post barracks near the town of Havelte have taken part in a first protest against impending radical defence budget cuts. Military unions say there’s widespread dissatisfaction among military personnel. Discussions between the unions and their members on how to give shape to a planned series of protests are still ongoing.
Last week, Defence Minister Hans Hillen announced that the tank battalion quartered at the Havelte barracks would be scrapped in its entirety, leading to the loss of about 200 jobs. The government has announced one-billion-euros’ worth of cuts to the defence budget.
In the past days, the unions have received reports that the frustration among soldiers is so great that it has led to cases of vandalism and soldiers refusing to obey orders.
The military unions say the protest in Havelte was just the first in a long series. A national demonstration against the budget cuts is scheduled to be held on 16 June.
© Radio Netherlands Worldwide