Maastricht demonstration escalates

2nd March 2009, Comments 0 comments

A demonstration between left and right wing groups in Maastricht escalated Sunday, leading to ten arrests.

MAASTRICHT—Police arrested ten protesters during a deomonstration Sunday. Three-hundred left-wing activists tried to block 200 ultra-right demonstrators from the organisation Voorpost.

The police expect to make more arrests in the coming days.

A right-wing demonstrator was hit in the head with a stone when the group he was in was attacked by 30 left-wing adherents when they attempted to cross a protest borderline.

It took some time before members of Voorpost were able to leave by police escort. While attempting to leave the demonstration in Maastricht right-wing activist busses were hit by rocks and glass bottles.

Around 40 fans of the football clubs MVV, Fortuna and Roda JC mingled in with left-wing group making matters worse. Mayor of Maastricht Gerd Leers referred to the atmosphere as “grim.”

Voorpost is against durg use, and was in Maastricht to protest the city’s coffee shop policies.

Three-hundred police agents, including three swat teams from Mobile Ennheid (ME), were in place Sunday afternoon, which was a public shopping day in Maastricht, to keep opponents from Voorpost and the leftist Anti Facist Action from clashing.

Despite the fact that leftists were ordered to stay on the eastern bank, and rightists on the west bank of the river Muese, police efforts to contain demonstrators were only partly successful. Members of the leftist group were ultimately successful in crossing the bridge.

When leftist supporters made an attempt to pass a barracaid, policemen on horses and members of the ME charged against them on the pedestrian bridge near the square Plein 1992 in Maastricht.

According to Peter Visser, a member of the Limburg Socialist Party (SP), MVV football hooligans attempted to provoke police officers by throwing fireworks and bottles at them. When a police car was destroyed, the group was forced from the square.

Around 200 leftist demonstrators were cordoned off for several hours by police in a grassy, swamp-like area on the river bank, the “Griend aan de Maas,” while rightist members went home. They were released once all the rightist members had gone.

ANP/Lila Lundquist/Expatica

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