Riot erupts as man admits sexual abuse
8 April 2005, AMSTERDAM — A riot erupted in Den Bosch on Thursday night after television station SBS 6 broadcast its 'anti-social neighbourhood' programme in which a man admitted to having sexually abused his step-daughter.
8 April 2005
AMSTERDAM — A riot erupted in Den Bosch on Thursday night after television station SBS 6 broadcast its 'anti-social neighbourhood' programme in which a man admitted to having sexually abused his step-daughter.
As angry residents took to the streets in the Graafsewijk neighbourhood, windows were smashed and police in riot gear took up position outside the man's house. One person was arrested after police were pelted with projectiles.
The self-confessed sex offender had been forewarned and was not in the house at the time.
A police spokeswoman said on Friday morning that order had been restored to the area. She said the clashes were probably related to the broadcast of the SBS show 'Probleemwijken' (Problem Neighbourhoods), which featured Graafsewijk.
The spokeswoman told Expatica that the man, whose house was attacked, has ready been convicted of the sexual abuse and therefore will not be arrested in response to his television confession.
More information is expected to be released at a press conference at 1pm on Friday.
The district was last hit by riots in December 2000 when Den Bosch man and ardent soccer fan Pierre Bouleij was shot dead by police. The officer who fired the fatal shot was later found to have acted in self-defence.
The programme screened on the commercial broadcaster had interviews with locals who were evicted from their homes by their landlord for allegedly cultivating cannabis.
The residents then protested at the house of Den Bosch Mayor Ton Rombouts and a delegation met with a city alderman. When the meeting failed to satisfy residents, they warned of tougher protest actions.
The residents accused the mayor of operating an anti-social policy, claiming that paedophiles and rapists were treated better than people who cultivate cannabis.
If evicted due to cannabis cultivation, tenants are denied rental housing in Den Bosch for three years. This is based on an agreement signed between the housing corporations in the Brabant city.
Graafsewijk residents are demanding that the city authorities prevent such evictions.
The residents' aggression was directed at the house of a man who admitted in the SBS broadcast that he sometimes had sex with his eight-year-old step-daughter.
The police spokeswoman said authorities had anticipated unrest in the district after the broadcast and had advised the man to leave his home earlier on Thursday. The man heeded the advice.
Police also placed officers on stand-by in case of riots. As soon as some residents smashed the windows of the man's house and threw furniture into the street, police were able to step in and end the disturbance quickly.
Small fires were also lit during the short riot, but firefighters were able to extinguish them quickly or allow controlled burns.
SBS 6 producer Erik Dekker told Radio 1 on Friday morning that the broadcaster could not have foreseen that the riot would break out.
"It says something about the neighbourhood. In my neighbourhood, it would never happen. It is not the task of the producer, but the municipality, to do something," he said.
The final episode of the controversial series will be broadcast next week.
The city councils of Eindhoven, Assen and Leeuwarden have previously criticised the depiction of the so-called anti-social districts of Woensel-West (Eindhoven), Assen-Oost and Wielenpolle (Leeuwarden). They claim the show presents a far too negative portrayal of the districts.
Eindhoven Mayor Alexander Sakkers has even sent a letter to SBS warning of legal action.
[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2005]
Subject: Dutch news