Mayor warns 200 hooligans will be arrested
22 April 2005, AMSTERDAM — Rotterdam Mayor Ivo Opstelten expects 100 to 200 Feyenoord soccer fans will be arrested in coming weeks for rioting during last weekend's clash with archrival club Amsterdam Ajax.
22 April 2005
AMSTERDAM — Rotterdam Mayor Ivo Opstelten expects 100 to 200 Feyenoord soccer fans will be arrested in coming weeks for rioting during last weekend's clash with archrival club Amsterdam Ajax.
The mayor said on Thursday night that photos and video footage will assist the 20 police officers assigned to the investigation arrest the culprits.
Opstelten was addressing a Rotterdam City Council administration and safety commission to explain how the chaotic situation developed prior to and after Sunday's match, which Ajax won 3-2.
He said investigations will determine what went wrong, but has initially refused to admit that city authorities made mistakes.
Some 43 people were arrested on Sunday as Ajax supporters seriously vandalised two Rotterdam-bound trains — by ripping up seats and smashing windows — and opposing club fans violently clashed after the match ended.
Rotterdam authorities tried to minimise problems by refusing entry to the stadium to Ajax supporters who travelled on the two vandalised trains. They were instead forced to return to Amsterdam by bus.
Mayor Opstelten said the transport of Ajax supporters to the match was meticulously planned, but problems still eventuated.
Asked by the commission why more troublemakers were not arrested immediately, Opstelten said not everything can take occur at once. "The restoration of order had top priority," he said.
He refused to let the fans into the stadium, stressing it was doubtful whether the match would have been completed given the tension.
The Socialist Party (SP) has called on Rotterdam to identify how many hooligans pose a threat to public order at soccer matches. Such an exercise has occurred in the past with radical Dutch youths.
And the government wants to force hooligans to pay for damage caused during soccer riots. Interior Minister John Remkes is discussing other measures with clubs, such as banning away supporters from attending matches.
Dutch rail NS has threatened a travel ban on troublemakers.
[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2005]
Subject: Dutch news