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Just wanted to shoot you a quick note as I noted you blog a lot about the EU elections. So I voted myself last week Thursday. In my local gym, in and out within 3 minutes and after that I went for a workout. Pretty easy and well organized. Dutch-style.Wahlen sind wie Heizung, fließend Wasser und gutes Internet. Man lernt sie erst wertzuschätzen, wenn man sie verliert.
[...] my partner is Romanian who wanted to vote yesterday. So we got up, had lazy breakfast, cycled over to Diemen (suburb city near Amsterdam, 20 minute bike ride) where we ended up in a residential area near a shopping mall. We were there at roughly 12:30.
My girlfriend had to wait in line for more than 9 (!!!!) hours. I was there for most of the day to support her (I snuck out for an hour and had a beer with a buddy who lives close, by) then went back to hand out stroopwafels to people. Again; she had to wait 9 (!) hours. Thousands of people in a very long queue sneaking through this residential area. Just five voting booths in total.
Several people appealed to the Romanian embassy for an extension. Of course that approval never came. When talking to a lot of people it seemed that everyone's convinced that the ruling PSD party seems to really do everything in their power to make the huuuge Romanian diaspora not able to vote as easily (as they know they'll easily lose it then). Stories about old grandma's on the country side who are bused in the vote etc. I spoke with a lot of people.
Anyhow, the mayor of Diemen showed up. Said it was a disgrace what was happening, told people to keep the faith. People stayed in the rain until the very end!. My girlfriend after nine hours was one of the last ten people pushed in by cops that guarded the door of the voting station at the end. Then they had to close the door. They tried to get as many people to go in at the last minute, they opened up an overflow room, probably helped violate a thousand fire code and regulations, but they pushed as many people in around the clock of nine. But obviously they couldn't interfere with the voting process itself. And there were still hundreds if not a thousand people waiting outside.
I've never seen anything like it. People in tears. A girl very upset saying that "thirty years ago people died so we could vote and now my vote is being taken away from it" etc. It's been a very upsetting and eye-opening experience for me. There were so many people still waiting in line to vote when the doors closed. And they knew they were not going to make it but most of them stayed anyway. To ride it out to it's bitter end.
There were reports of The Hague where the riot police had to do a few charges as upset Romanians climbed over the fences to the embassy as they wanted to vote. In the Netherlands there were only four voting places. I spoke to young couple, the girl of whom it was the first time voting ever, and they traveled from the North of the Netherlands (Groningen) all the way there. They just about made it. But this is what they do man; wear people down, make it as hard as possible to make their voices heard.
Then in Munich the police extended the perimeter of the embassy temporarily so that everyone who was already on embassy ground and "on Romanian soil" could get the ability to vote. So kudo's for the Munich police (nice for a change huh? ;-). See a source here. Google Translate should do the trick there.
Here is an English translation source on the news of the Netherlands.
And a statement of the mayor of Diemen [Vorsicht: Facebook-Link]
I have some footage of him coming out and calming the crowd down etc. He stayed till the end at t he voting station and thanked everyone personally. My girlfriend spoke with him for a bit too and thanked him. A few other people were trying to get the crowd riled up but everyone stayed nice and calmed the upset people down. No riot police seen although the cops had them ready somewhere if things got heated.