800 joined Netherlands March For Life in December
THE HAGUE, January 25, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – This year’s Dutch March for Life took place on December 11th and attracted more than 800 participants – the largest crowd in the event’s 18-year history, according to march organizers Cry for Life and Christians for Truth.
The annual event commemorates the date, December 18, 1980, when abortion was approved by the Dutch Parliament.
According to Cry for Life, there were approximately 30,000 abortions committed in Holland in the past year, making for a total of 630,000 “lives sacrificed on the altars of self-indulgence since 1980.”
Cry for Life President Bert P. Dorenbos said on the group’s website that this year’s march, which took place in The Hague, the nation’s political capital, was “a day of victory.”
“The leadership of the 2010 March for Life believes that this year even tops last year’s surprise huge attendance. So many new people have become part of the pro-life movement in Holland. And so many of these are from the youth – tomorrow’s leaders,” Dorenbos said.
Dorenbos said marchers had been prepared for demonstrations from pro-abortion groups that had disrupted the event in previous years. However, the Hague police announced that any undue noise or violence would not be tolerated from those opposed to the march. Only twelve protesters showed up, five of whom were arrested for disorderly conduct.
“The police did a wonderful job,” Dorenbos said. “They gave us great protection with mounted police and four SWAT teams in armored vehicles ready for action at moment’s notice. Disorderly conduct was not going to be tolerated. The city would not issue a permit for the opposition so they had no group right to be there.”
Blogger Ingrid Airam, who attended the march, reported that she was “somewhat surprised at how quiet it was along the route.”
“Apart from a shouting woman, a few signs and two troublemakers it was quiet. My tension abated somewhat, and armed with a rosary and police around us (honestly, compliments for them on this day) we walked the route in relative quiet. Passers-by stopped, often with surprised looks, taking pictures,” Airam said.
The marchers had gathered at noon on the Plein Square located directly in front of the Parliament buildings, and, after spending an hour praying, singing and listening to leaders in the pro-life movement, they walked about 2 km. around the Dutch Parliament Complex, led by three mounted policemen.
“Back at the Plein there were speeches,” Ingrid Airam recalled. “They started well, powerfully. Among them a man from America who hadn’t been supposed to be born according to his mother and the doctors: but the abortion failed. Another proclaimed that we, in the Netherlands, of whatever denomination, should make this a priority in our prayers, to stand up for life.”
Airan urged her readers to “be on the Plein next year with a much larger number!”
March organizer Michael van der Mast told LifeSiteNews that the event is especially significant because of the large number of youth. “That shows us that indeed the youth are the leaders of the future,” he said. “But they are also overtaking the position of the Church leaders who should have been at the march.”
“The real significance of the march here or at home isn’t the number of participants but the prayer that goes with the preparation and the actual being at the march,” he continued. “The prayers will change the hearts and minds of our leaders and we need that in our societies.”