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Dutch to honour victims of Madrid bombings

Published on 15/03/2004

15 March 2004

AMSTERDAM — The Netherlands is commemorating the victims of last week’s Madrid bombings. Trains come to a three-minute stop at midday on Monday and flags hang at half-mast on government buildings.

Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, KLM and air traffic control will also observe the three-minute silence, newspaper De Telegraaf reported.

The show of solidarity comes at the request of the European Union. Trade union federation FNV, employers association VNO-NCW and small business association MKB-Nederland will also temporarily stop work.

The Madrid bombings left 200 dead and more than 1,000 injured. Islamic terror group Al Qaeda has since purportedly claimed responsibility in a videotape that said revenge was taken for Spain’s “collaboration with the criminals Bush and his allies”.

The devastating bombings have left Spain in a state of shock and prompted a voter backlash as the nation opted on Sunday for the Socialists, ousting the incumbent Popular Party of Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar.

Meanwhile, an announcement will be broadcast shortly before midday at Schiphol Airport alerting passengers and staff to the three-minute silence. All departments are co-operating.

Dutch rail NS said all offices, stations and trains will be requested to join the commemoration. The three-minute stop will not adversely affect the train timetable.

But freight transport organisation TLN and public transport company Connexxion have not urged drivers to observe the commemoration out of concerns for road safety. But TLN office staff will be requested to observe the moment of silence.

A Cabinet delegation under the leadership of Finance Minister Gerrit Zalm will lay a wreath at the residence of the Spanish ambassador in The Hague on Monday morning. The three-minute silence will then be observed at midday.

Minister Zalm is representing Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, who is visiting US President George Bush on Monday and Tuesday. The two leaders are to discuss the global economy, Iraq and the war against terror.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news