THE HAGUE (AFP) — The Dutch government and the mayor of Rotterdam said Monday they had asked a court to bar a demonstration by police that would disrupt the Tour de France.
Justice Minister Ard van der Steur and Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb want an order forbidding a protest by police on a bridge in Rotterdam on Sunday, the second day of the cycling race.
Police, who are demanding better pay, said they intend to carry out traffic checks on the advertising caravan that precedes the competitors, a move that would hold up the riders.
A justice ministry spokeswoman confirmed the request for an injunction but refused further comment, while the Rotterdam mayor called the protest “incomprehensible.”
“I regret this action and I find it incomprehensible that this event, followed by so many cycling fans, is being used for this action,” Aboutaleb told Dutch press agency ANP.
“I have a lot of sympathy for the police officers who are fighting for a better collective labor agreement, but I don’t think that objective should be obtained in this manner,” he added.
Police will also carry out a protest bike ride in the city of Utrecht shortly before the start of the race on July 4.
The officers want a pay raise of 3.3 percent, higher overtime pay, and a cash bonus for undergoing a reorganization of the police force.