Dutch celebrate New Year with fireworks, riots

2nd January 2008, Comments 0 comments

Massive celebrations, fires, riots and extreme fog characterised the Dutch New Year's festivities.

2 January 2008

AMSTERDAM - Massive celebrations, fires, riots and extreme fog characterised the Dutch New Year's festivities.

At Dam Square in Amsterdam and on the banks of the river Maas in Rotterdam tens of thousands of people gathered at both festive countdowns of the old year and the subsequent special fireworks shows.

A police spokesman said Tuesday there was more fist- fighting and rioting in many cities than in previous years, particularly in Amsterdam.

In Rotterdam the situation remained under control with just 85 arrests.

Three people were arrested - two German 18-year olds in Amsterdam and one Dutch national in Maastricht - after firing shots into the air with real guns.

In The Hague, the military police had to control rioters, while in Utrecht, in the centre of the country, the police were understaffed and unable to control the situation.

Dozens of cars went up in flames and rioters threw fireworks at civil guards. 

In southern Vlaardingen, a firework explosion caused damage to tens of homes. Elsewhere in the town, four people sustained knife wounds during a fight.

In Rozenburg, also in the south, 30 people were arrested after rioting near a mall.

A police spokesman said on Tuesday that a record number of buildings went up in flames during the night in the Netherlands.

Extremely dense fog resulted in chaos on the roads and many traffic accidents during the night, particularly in the east and north of the country. On the highway near Putten some 30 cars collided. One person died.

Shortly after midnight the police issued a warning to all drivers to stay off the roads.

[Copyright dpa 2008]

Subject: Dutch news

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