Dutch told to avoid riot trouble spots

7th November 2005, Comments 0 comments

7 November 2005, AMSTERDAM — The Dutch embassy in Paris has warned its citizens to avoid the Seine-Saint-Denis and Val-d'Oise districts in the evening and at night after 11 days of rioting in the French capital.

7 November 2005

AMSTERDAM — The Dutch embassy in Paris has warned its citizens to avoid the Seine-Saint-Denis and Val-d'Oise districts in the evening and at night after 11 days of rioting in the French capital.

The embassy singled out the Argenteuil in the north east and Trappes to the south east as areas of particular concern in the Paris. Similar precautions should be taken in other French cities that have experienced rioting, officials said.

The embassies of the US, UK, Japan, Poland and Russia have issued similar warnings to their citizens.

The US embassy has cautioned people flying into Charles de Gaulle Airport to take a taxi into the city and not to use the metro. The metro runs through suburbs which have witnessed serious unrest as North African youth battle the police and set fire to cars and buildings.

Police are now accompanying all train services through the troubled districts in Paris after the driver of one train was attacked and the passengers robbed. Similar precautions have been taken in other parts of France.

Following the unrest in districts in Paris and other French cities, the question has arisen whether the same could take place in the Netherlands.

Urban sociologist Leon Deben at the University of Amsterdam doesn't think so. "The Netherlands does not have the type of suburbs there are in France," he said on Monday.

Deben said the enormous concrete buildings in French suburbs cannot be compared to the situation in Amsterdam. "We have them in the Bijlmer but they are currently being demolished."

In comparison the Bijlmer suburb in the south east of Amsterdam is a "charming district. We don't have the toughness that exists in some French suburbs," Deben contended.

He said problems have been brewing in France for 20 years. "If you went south back then you already saw burnt out flats. The French government has to some extent been in denial and is now clearly reacting far too late," Deben said.

He claimed Dutch politicians are keeping a far sharper eye on developments in the more disadvantaged districts in the Netherlands. There are about 80 different groups of "problem youth" living in various parts of Amsterdam, but they will not quickly become so extreme as their counterparts in France.

"We had of course the riots on the Mercatorplein in the Baarsjes district but there were like a flash in the pan and were over quickly," Deben said.

Meanwhile, five cars were destroyed in arson attack in an immigrant-dense Brussels city district, but the federal government has dismissed the possibility French rioting will spread to Belgium.

Extra police patrol have been ordered onto the streets of Berlin after cars are set on fire in a poor district, fuelling fears of copycat violence like the rioting sweeping France.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2005]

Subject: Dutch news

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