Dutch appeals court overturns Rotterdam city’s catcall ban

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THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — A local ordinance banning catcalls on the streets of the Dutch port city of Rotterdam was overturned Thursday by an appeals court that ruled it amounts to a possible breach of the country’s constitutionally-enshrined freedom of expression.

Rotterdam introduced the local law against street intimidation in an attempt to clamp down on verbal abuse in public, but The Hague Appeals Court ruled that the municipality overstepped its powers.

The court said in a statement that it “respects the wish of the Rotterdam municipality to tackle this vulgarity,” but ruled that only the Dutch Parliament has the power to criminalize such behavior because doing so amounts to a possible infringement of the freedom of expression.

The ruling came in a test case against a man accused of breaching the Rotterdam ordinance.

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