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Dutch PM Rutte under increased security due to threats -media

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By Reuters
Dutch PM Rutte under increased security due to threats -media
Dutch PM Rutte under increased security due to threats -media   -   Copyright  Thomson Reuters 2021   -  

<div> <p><span class="caps">AMSTERDAM</span> – The Netherlands has sharply boosted security around Prime Minister Mark Rutte after police received signals of a possible attack by criminals linked to the drug trade, a Dutch newspaper reported on Monday, citing sources familiar with the matter.</p> <p>Although gun violence in the Netherlands is rare, killings and violence linked to the drug trade have become common in recent years, as underworld figures compete for territory. </p> <p>A government source, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed the report in De Telegraaf. Dutch national security authorities declined to comment on the report.</p> <p>Asked about the report, Rutte told reporters: “Safety and protection are issues never to be discussed in public.” </p> <p>Rutte, whose conservative government has vowed to crack down on organised crime, has always sought to maintain a limited level of personal protection since taking office as prime minister almost 11 years ago. </p> <p>He is often seen cycling to and from his home and government buildings in The Hague and is often approached by passers-by wishing to take selfies with him or to chat.</p> <p>In a sign of the increased violence in the drugs trade, a well-known Dutch crime reporter, Peter R. de Vries, was shot in broad daylight in Amsterdam in July, months after taking on the role of counsellor to the star witness in a high-profile drug case. He died of his injuries days later.</p> <p>The former lawyer of the star witness had been killed in a similar fashion in front of his Amsterdam home in 2019.</p> <p>Other threats to politicians are not uncommon in the Netherlands. Anti-Islam opposition leader Geert Wilders has been forced to live in a safe house and to surround himself with body guards since 2004 due to continuous death threats.</p> <p>In recent months, several people around the country have been fined or handed short jail sentences for threatening ministers and lawmakers, mainly over coronavirus policies.</p> <p/> </div>