Singers, painters and television presenters were demonstrating across the Netherlands at the weekend against the government's plans to slash funding and subsidies for the arts as part of an €18 billion ($25 billion) austerity package.

Thousands of members of the public also were attending events around the country, and organizers called for protesters to scream together to express their anger at the changes.

On Thursday (Nov. 18) the Dutch parliament approved plans to raise sales tax from 6% to 19% on tickets to theaters, cinemas, rock concerts and other cultural events.

The new right-wing administration has also pledged to cut funding for the arts by €200 million ($274 million) in the coming five years.

In Amsterdam, musicians, presenters and comedians gathered on Saturday afternoon (Nov. 20) at a central square to listen to music and protest statements against the proposed cuts.

In the Hague, members of the public held a late-night gathering after theaters and cinemas closed to listen to a trumpeter from a local orchestra play "The Last Post" and hold a minute's silence.

Organizers said in a manifesto published online that the cuts have been justified in parliament by lawmakers who say the arts are only for a wealthy elite.

"But a [13 percentage points] rise in sales tax hits all of the public because tickets get more expensive," organizers said. "By cutting culture budgets and raising tax on tickets culture will become an elitist pastime and less accessible for people with less money."