Ten arrested on fringes of far-right protest in Amsterdam
Dutch police on Saturday arrested 10 people who sought to confront a group of far-right picketers marching in support of anti-Islam MP Geert Wilders, a spokesman said.
The ten were part of a group trying to make its way towards a small gathering of English Defence League supporters holding a legal, pro-Wilders picket near the Sloterdijk train station northwest of the Dutch capital.
"Some were arrested for not carrying valid identification, others for acts of public violence," police spokesman Rob van der Veen told AFP.
He would not say what the nationalities of the individuals were or what violence they had perpetrated.
Police also stopped and rerouted a metro with dozens of suspected supporters of the Ajax football club on its way to the same picketing venue, "to prevent a confrontation" between the two groups, a statement said.
The EDL picket was organised to show support for Wilders, who is being prosecuted in the Netherlands for inciting hatred and discrimination against Muslims.
Wilders, who has distanced himself from the demonstration, risks up to a year in jail or a 7,600-euro fine for comments made in his campaign to "stop the Islamisation of the Netherlands".
Permission was given for the EDL picket to be held in an isolated area near Sloterdijk, rather than the city centre where it would have been harder to manage, after police received information that English and Dutch football hooligans were planning to use the occasion for "hard confrontation".
A website for Ajax supporters had urged football fans to confront the EDL on Saturday "because we don't tolerate racism and fascism in our city"
Several "anti-fascist" groupings held counter-pickets around Amsterdam.
© 2010 AFP