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Utrecht police call off plans to disrupt the Tour de France

Police action planned for Sunday’s Rotterdam stage could still happen

Police officers in the Netherlands planning to disrupt next month’s Grand Départ of the Tour de France as part of an ongoing pay dispute have cancelled a protest bike ride in Utrecht on Saturday. However, plans to bring the race to a halt on Rotterdam's Erasmus Bridge on Sunday remain possible.

Last week we reported how members of The Nederlands Politiebond (NPB) union planned on holding an hour-long protest bike ride in Utrecht to delay the opening time trial stage of this year’s Tour de France. However, this has now been cancelled. Police spokesman, Thomas Aling, told that the action was "a bridge too far."

However, the action planned for the following day’s stage – traffic checks on the Tour’s publicity caravan on the Erasmus Bridge in Rotterdam – may still happen. This is despite requests from Minister Ard van der Steur of Security and Justice and Rotterdam Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb to cancel it.

Eurosport reports that earlier this week the Dutch government sought a court injunction to prevent police officers from blocking the route. "We are going to a judge to try to stop the plan," said Dutch Justice Ministry spokesman Jean Fransman. "It's not only about safety, but also about misuse of authority."

The unions have been protesting for the last 15 weeks with their main request being a 3.3 percent wage increase. Police officers have reportedly not had a salary increase in four years. Other high profile sporting events have already been disrupted during the dispute, including a first division football match which was cancelled after police said they could not guarantee its security.

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