Expatica news

Ketchup throwers deny threat on Verdonk

18 June 2004

AMSTERDAM — The two women who threw ketchup at Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk on Wednesday have said they were not responsible for an anonymous threat made against the Liberal VVD minister.

An anonymous phone call threat against Verdonk was received by the editorial department of RTV North Holland on Thursday. Amsterdam police have launched an investigation.

The male caller gave the minister two weeks to reverse her immigration policy, but did not give a definite death threat. Despite this, he did not rule out anything and referred to Pim Fortuyn, who was shot and killed by a lone gunman in May 2002.

Speaking on behalf of the activist group Section Eight, the male caller also claimed responsibility for the ketchup incident, police said on Friday.

Two demonstrators threw ketchup at Minister Verdonk on Wednesday in front of the Bible Museum in Amsterdam, where she was to open an exhibition called “Everyone is a stranger somewhere”. 

But speaking via their lawyers, the two women responsible for the incident said they were not involved in the telephone threat and were outraged that the man had made a connection between the incident and his threat.

Verdonk has said the threat against her is “very serious” and “impermissible”. She said she understood that people were critical of her policies, but said threats were no means by which to express an opinion.

The minister pushed unpopular legislation through Parliament earlier this year giving an amnesty to 2,300 long-term asylum seekers and thus a residence permit. But the legislation also paved the way for the deportation of 26,000 others.

She has also been criticised for her plans to force immigrants to complete an integration exam in their country of origin before being allowed to settle permanently in the Netherlands.

The Dutch government is also moving to force 400,000 immigrants already in the country for extended period of time to sit for an integration exam.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news