Residents of the Dutch port city of Rotterdam have signed up in their thousands to inflict a smelly protest on billionaire Jeff Bezos.
The residents are reportedly furious at a plan to temporarily dismantle a historic city bridge to allow the world’s second-richest person’s new $683 million superyacht to pass through.
The Amazon founder’s new 127-metre boat is being built at Rotterdam’s Oceanco shipyard.
But it emerged last week the luxury yacht, known so far only as Y271, would not fit under the city’s historic Koningshaven Bridge on its way to the open water because of its three 70-metre masts.
The Koningshaven is an old steel railway bridge that dates from 1878 and connects the island of Noordereiland to Rotterdam’s south. Known locally as De Hef, it was rebuilt after being bombed by the Nazis in 1940 during World War II – and now represents quite a roadblock on Y271’s journey.
“It’s the only route to the sea,” a spokesman for the city’s mayor, Ahmed Aboutaleb told news agency AFP, last week.
Mr Bezos would foot the bill to remove the bridge’s middle section and then replace it, the spokesman said. The cost of the delicate operation has not been revealed.
It was planned for sometime during the Dutch summer and expected to take a few weeks.
Mr Aboutaleb’s office talked up the the economic benefits and jobs created by the boat’s construction of the boat – and promised the bridge would be rebuilt in its current form.
But that wasn’t good enough for many locals, who were especially angry that the local council was prepared to break a promise made after a major renovation in 2017 that it would never again dismantle De Hef.
Already more than 3500 have pledged to attend a protest organised through Facebook.
Called “Throwing eggs at superyacht Jeff Bezos”, the event also has “interest” from 12,000 others.
“Calling all Rotterdammers, take a box of rotten eggs with you and let’s throw them en masse at Jeff’s superyacht when it sails through the Hef in Rotterdam,” organiser Pablo Strormann writes.
“Rotterdam was built from rubble by the people of Rotterdam, and we don’t just take that apart for the phallus symbol of a megalomaniac billionaire,” the description of the event reads.
“Not without a fight!”
The controversy – and perhaps the possibility of a spray of smelly eggs – appears to have put the brakes on Mr Bezos’ plan.
Local media is reporting that Rotterdam city authorities are yet to receive a request for a permit to temporarily dismantle the bridge. As a result, Mr Aboutaleb’s office said, no final decision had yet been made.