Peaceful march honours 'bag thief'
21 January 2005, AMSTERDAM — A silent procession for Ali el B. passed off without incident on Friday as several hundred people paid their respects to the man crushed and killed by a reversing car after he allegedly stole a woman's bag earlier this week.
21 January 2005
AMSTERDAM — A silent procession for Ali el B. passed off without incident on Friday as several hundred people paid their respects to the man crushed and killed by a reversing car after he allegedly stole a woman's bag earlier this week.
The mourners gathered on Friday at the scene where the 19-year-old man of Moroccan descent was killed in the Derde Oosterparkstraat in Amsterdam on Monday night and set off at about 2.15pm for the Al Kabir mosque a short distance away on the Weesperzijde.
Ali B.'s sister urged those attending — especially the younger people — to remain quiet and to make the march memorable. The family had originally planned to hold a silent march from Central Station in the middle of the city. The idea was abandoned after Amsterdam Mayor Job Cohen advised against it.
Silent marches are usually reserved for victims of murder and Cohen said it would be a "bad signal" for El B. to be honoured in this way.
El B. and an 18-year-old accomplice allegedly stole a 43-year-old motorist's bag from her car on Monday night before trying to escape on a scooter. The woman reversed her car to follow them and collided with the scooter, crushing the victim against a tree.
She was arrested and accused of manslaughter, but Amsterdam Court ordered the release of the mother-of-two on Thursday night, asserting there was no evidence she had intended to kill El B. The public prosecutor will not appeal the decision, but its investigation continues.
A large amount of flowers and letters of support have been placed around the tree where El B. died. One of the letters said: "Verdonk, murderer", implying that Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk prompted the murder due to her tough stance on integration.
The incident has sparked heated discussion between immigrants and native Dutch residents in Amsterdam East. Some residents claim the death was a racially-motivated murder, while others claim it was purely an accident.
El B. died just outside the Linnaeusschool in Derde Oosterparkstraat and the institute closed its doors early on Friday because of concerns about unrest. The march passed off without incident.
A small group of people entered the Al Kabir mosque at the end of the procession at about 2.45pm for a special commemorative service, newspaper De Telegraaf reported. The family had asked the service be kept a private affair.
Meanwhile, Amsterdam Court decided on Monday that it cannot give a ruling in a robbery case involving the dead man.
El B. had been charged with an armed robbery at a Xenos store on Kalverstraat in the city centre last May. El B. appeared in court in relation to the case hours before he died.
In light of his death, the court said it could not do anything else but order the prosecution to abandon its case. The public prosecutor reached the same conclusion.
[Copyright Expatica News 2005]
Subject: Dutch news