Dutch Stage Gigantic, Messy Tomato Fight to Protest Russian Sanctions

Dutch men and women threw a shit-ton of overripe tomatoes at each other in Amsterdam's central Dam square on Sunday, the AP reports, to protest against Russian sanctions blocking the import of European produce.

Tickets to the one-hour fight, inspired by Spain's annual "La Tomatina" festival, cost tomato-throwers 15 euros ($18) each, and around 1,000 tomato-throwing tickets were sold. According to participant Sil Bloedjes, who spoke with the AP, it smelled "awful" and "somewhat like beer," but she noted the tomatoes that landed in her mouth actually didn't taste that bad. Yum! Her sister, Lois Bloedjes, spoke about how mushy it was:

"It was hard in there. It was mean. But it was fun. ... Everything became one big pile of mush. There were people swimming in it on the ground."

Joep Verbunt, organizer of the event, told the AP the proceeds will go to tomato growers who have been hurt by the sanctions, and the 120,000 tomatoes used in the fight were purchased after being labeled unfit for human consumption. From the AP:

The Netherlands vies with Mexico as the world's largest tomato exporter, and it sent $100 million worth to Russia last year. Dutch farmers have been offered a subsidy to either dispose of excess crops or donate them to food banks.

Upon leaving the event, participant Dennis de Jong said, "It was beautiful."

[images via Peter Dejong, AP]

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