Dutch Arsonists Set Telecoms Towers Alight in Series of UK-Style Attacks Amid 5G Fears

© Sputnik / Yakov Andreev / Go to the photo bankInstallation of cell phone towers, file photo.
Installation of cell phone towers, file photo. - Sputnik International
The string of incidents follows reports earlier this week that at least twenty cellular base stations in the UK were torched by protesters amid unsubstantiated fake news rumours spread online about an alleged link between 5G technology and COVID-19.

At least five cellular broadcasting towers across the Netherlands have been set alight this past week by opponents of 5G high speed mobile internet, De Telegraaf has reported.

The attacks are said to have targeted towers in the cities of Rotterdam, Liessel, Beesd, Nuenen, and Groningen, causing tens of thousands of euros worth of damage.

Rob Bongelaar, director of the Monet Foundation, an association that coordinates the state’s interaction with network operators and oversees the placement of cell towers, called the attacks “incomprehensible and unacceptable,” adding that “operators are doing their utmost to keep mobile networks up and running in this difficult time.”

The official suspects the attacks were motivated by anti-5G sentiments, citing reports that the words  “F*** 5G” were scrawled on the transmission box at one of the sites attacked.

The Dutch government’s Security and Counter-Terrorism agency confirmed in a statement that “various incidents” had been registered around cellular communications towers in recent days, including sabotage and arson. The agency called the attacks an unprecedented and “concerning development,” warning that “disruption of broadcasting masts…can have consequences for the coverage of the telecommunications network and reachability of emergency services” amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Netherlands is home to several citizens groups which have expressed opposition to 5G internet, citing fears that the radio waves emitted by the technology could be harmful to humans and the environment, or increase state and corporate power to infringe on citizens’ privacy. Previously, these groups limited their activities to rallies and awareness campaigns.

The European country’s telecoms companies have yet to roll out 5G, with the technology said to be in the testing phase at the moment, and auctions for the 5G spectrum scheduled for June.

The sabotage follows reports of attacks on at least 20 telecoms masts across the UK, with those acts of vandalism believed to be linked to the spread of misinformation online about 5G’s alleged role in the spread of the new coronavirus.

MobileUK, a trade association for the country’s telecoms providers, condemned those attacks, and stressed that there is “no scientific evidence of any link between 5G and coronavirus.” National Health Service England director Stephen Powis similarly dismissed claims of any connection between COVID-19 and 5G as “complete and utter rubbish” and “the worst kind of fake news.”

Most scientists have dismissed concerns over alleged dangers posed by 5G technology. However, a group of European scientists and doctors has expressed concerns to EU authorities about the technology’s possible side effects, and called on Brussels to introduce a moratorium on its rollout until potential hazards to human health and the environment can be addressed.

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