Police are trying to trace a man who made death threats against the mayor of Gorinchem in the second such incident this week.
Reinie Melissant was accosted by a man at a busy street market who complained about “the power”of the mayor” and said that “the bullets are coming”, local broadcaster Rijnmond reported. He then walked away.
The mayor, who has been in office since 2017, had been threatened by the same man before when he came to her house and told her “your time has come. I’m going to kill you”. Melissant reported him but the case did not come to court because there were no witnesses to the event.
Prior to his death threats the man said he was “autonomous” and that he did “not have to listen to the mayor”. The Dutch security service AIVD said there are approximately 10,000 people in the Netherlands who do not recognise the laws of the land and refuse to pay tax.
In 2021, a man whose house had been boarded up because of a drugs find, threatened to drive his car into Melissant’s house.
The mayor has since received messages of support. Caretaker housing minister Hugo de Jonge said on social media that he had spoken to Melissant and that “people who serve the public cause deserve protection.”
Local and regional politicians are increasingly facing aggression related to their job, figures from last year’s integrity and safety monitor has shown. Half of mayors, aldermen, councillors and provincial politicians reported receiving threats.
Earlier this week, mayor Boy Scholtze van Drimmelen faced homophobic abuse and narrowly escaped being run over by a 76-year-old man in front of the town hall in Made, in Brabant.
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