Amsterdam tightens security after killing
4 November 2004, AMSTERDAM — The Dutch Interior Ministry has drawn up a nationwide "risk analysis" in the wake of the murder of filmmaker Theo van Gogh. In response to heightened public tension, extra police officers have also been drafted into Amsterdam to prevent any disorder.
4 November 2004
AMSTERDAM — The Dutch Interior Ministry has drawn up a nationwide "risk analysis" in the wake of the murder of filmmaker Theo van Gogh. In response to heightened public tension, extra police officers have also been drafted into Amsterdam to prevent any disorder.
In addition to the 75 police officers assigned to investigate the murder, almost 200 more are monitoring Amsterdam suburbs, and a security post has been set up near the residence of Mayor Job Cohen.
Interior Ministry spokesman Frank van Beers said the authorities have carefully re-examined whether various individuals and buildings require heightened security. But the results of the risk analysis will not be made public.
The revamped protection and security system will lead to increased security measures for anyone thought to be at risk of attack. It is commonly known that Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, Cabinet ministers, and MPs Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Geert Wilders are accompanied everywhere by bodyguards.
According to police spokesman Eric Vermeulen, the officers patrolling Amsterdam suburbs are in uniform and are higher ranked special forces operatives. "They co-ordinate a specific region, which means they have a very broad oversight and take action where necessary," he said.
The so-called 'neighbourhood directors' are not only in contact with police, but also social workers and social organisations.
Investigating police have taken statements from more than 100 witnesses and Vermeulen said it was a "very complex investigation". He said no further announcements will be made, but admitted that the suspect — a 26-year-old Moroccan man — must still be confronted with certain elements of the inquiry.
Vermeulen was referring to the five-page letter found on Van Gogh's body. Police have refused to reveal the contents of the letter, but have admitted it contained "radical Islamic convictions". The suspect was also reportedly carrying a farewell letter at the time of his arrest.
Police arrested eight men in Amsterdam on Wednesday on suspicion of possible terrorist activities. Van Gogh murder suspect, Mohammed B. was known to the suspects and newspaper Algemeen Dagblad has also reported police are investigating whether he holds links to terror network al-Qaeda.
Meanwhile, reports that the intelligence services were aware prior to Van Gogh's murder that an attack was imminent against an Islamic critic have prompted a demand from MP Wilders for an explanation from the cabinet, newspaper Het Parool reported.
A Mid-East expert with Dutch Foreign Affairs Ministry, Roland Mollinger, said the intelligence services knew that "something" would occur in northern Europe. The target was to be someone who was outspokenly critical against the Islamic faith.
The Dutch intelligence service AIVD told the newspaper it was not surprised by such comments. It said based on the security measures taken around anti-Islamic MPs Hirsi Ali and Wilders, it was possible to conclude that an attack might soon be carried out.
Interior Minister Johan Remkes and Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner have told Parliament that the government has instructed local councils to meet and talk with Muslim communities. The talks are aimed at preventing "population groups in the Netherlands from coming into conflict".
And about 20 Moroccan groups will meet in the near future to discuss the murder and again issue complete condemnation of Van Gogh's killing. It is hoped that the murder will not lead to greater divisions in Dutch society. They also said the shooting had been strongly condemned in Morocco itself.
[Copyright Expatica News + Novum Nieuws 2004]
Subject: Dutch news