Amsterdam, Aug. 27, 2009 — An Amsterdam protest group has been pressured by the municipality into changing its name and logo.
Read more about Ai!Amsterdam
The group operated under the name Ai! Amsterdam — a take-off on the city’s marketing slogan, Iamsterdam.
It’s purpose is to protest a plethora of silly rules and regulations thought up primarily by the city’s Centrum borough.
The group’s first protests targeted a by-law that made it illegal to drink alcoholic beverages while standing at a cafés outdoor terrace.
After organizing a mass protest — turning a local square into a giant outdoor terrance on which thousands of Amsterdammers drank beer and wine while standing — Amsterdam mayor Job Cohen in a meeting with the group’s organizers agreed to tolerate the practice.
However, during the same meeting the mayor demanded that Ai!Amsterdam change its name and logo. He claimed that the activists damage the city’s image as well as its marketing campaign.
The Dutch expression ai! (pronounced as in Thailand) is derived from the Yiddish Oy vey! — an exclamation of dismay or exasperation.
© · Photo by Matt Rubens
The group initially said it would not intend to give in to Cohen’s demand.
However, after obtaining legal advice it concluded that it had only a fifty percent chance of winning its case — and even it the group would win, the city has much deeper pockets.
“The way the city has gone about this is scandalous,” Ai!Amsterdam’s Marko van Kampen told local newspaper Het Parool.
Some politicians are also indignant about the affair. Alderman Huub Verweij (VVD) says it is a degradation of the right to free speech.
Ai!Amsterdam does not yet have new name. — DutchAmsterdam.nl
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