Eight youths arrested in Slotervaart

18th October 2007, Comments 0 comments

18 October 2007, AMSTERDAM - Amsterdam police remained on alert Thursday following another night of rioting in the Slotervaart neighborhood in the western part of the city. Eight youths were arrested during the riots. Three of them were caught while trying to set private cars on fire. Five others were arrested for allegedly "disturbing public order," a police spokesman told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa on Thursday.

18 October 2007

AMSTERDAM - Amsterdam police remained on alert Thursday following another night of rioting in the Slotervaart neighborhood in the western part of the city. Eight youths were arrested during the riots. Three of them were caught while trying to set private cars on fire. Five others were arrested for allegedly "disturbing public order," a police spokesman told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa on Thursday.

Last week two violent incidents took place in Slotervaart. Both times Moroccan-Dutch youths were involved. In the latest incident on October 14, 22-year-old Bilal Bajaka attacked two police officers in a police station with a knife. One of them pulled her gun and shot her attacker, who died on the spot. During the following nights, youths set cars on fire and threw stones at the police station.

In a current affairs television programme late Wednesday evening Amsterdam police chief Bernard Welten said the problems in Slotervaart are caused by a "core group of no more than 35 youths aged 12 to 17".

Welten said the youths come from violent homes, adding that he would not be surprised if the riots would increase to the level of those in Paris last year. "Their parents have no authority over them whatsoever," he said. He indicated youths in the group were arrested frequently, only to be released soon afterwards, "because we want to be a constitutional state."

Meanwhile Marijn Ornstein, member of the Amsterdam city council for the Liberal VVD, said rioting youths should get a court injunction. Other options to end the riots are a general prohibition of public assembly and preventive body searches.

"It is necessary to act very strictly in this neighbourhood and use all possible means," Ornstein said. In recent years a number of Dutch cities implemented prohibitions of public assembly.

As of October 5, the youths in the Kanaleneiland in Western Utrecht, the fourth largest city of the Netherlands, are no longer allowed to hang around in public areas in groups of 5 or more. In Rotterdam, the prohibition of public assembly affects all citizens of the city. In Arnhem in the eastern Netherlands, a prohibition of public assembly is directed primarily at elderly people hanging around in malls. Previously, Dutch law did not provide the option to legislate general prohibitions of public assembly.

Only in emergency cases, the Dutch police could request the court to allow an emergency prohibition of public assembly. These were always temporary prohibitions. Some people have criticised the city prohibitions of public assembly, arguing it goes against the principles of a democratic and constitutional state. Most Dutch nationals however argue "tougher" action is necessary to maintain public order.

[Copyright dpa 2007]
Subject: Dutch news

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