Football rioting brings Rotterdam to standstill
18 April 2005
AMSTERDAM — Police arrested 43 people as seven officers were injured in violent riots around Rotterdam’s football stadium, De Kuip, on Sunday as Amsterdam club Ajax defeated home team Feyenoord 3-2 on Sunday.
Three supporters were also injured, one of them seriously, when fireworks exploded in his pants. Train traffic around the port city was also disrupted by the rioting as delays extended into the evening.
The violence erupted before the match started when a train with several hundred Ajax fans stopped at the Rotterdam South station. Feyenoord fans then moved in to attack and harass Ajax fans.
Riot police charged in to separate the fans and the train moved several hundred metres further to the Stadium station. Ajax fans were then shielded in the special supporters’ corridor, but were not allowed into the stadium.
Rotterdam Mayor Ivo Opstelten ordered the Ajax fans back to Amsterdam due to the vandalism committed in the train. He also ordered a second train that was still en route to the stadium to return to Amsterdam.
The city’s security committee — made up of the mayor, the city’s police chief and the head of Rotterdam’s prosecution department — decided to send the first group of Ajax fans back to the Dutch capital on buses because the train could not travel further due to the vandalism.
The next stage of rioting started shortly after the match ended. Not all of the Ajax supporters were on the buses to return to Amsterdam; some 150 Ajax fans were subsequently besieged by Feyenoord fans and were pelted with stones.
Riot police again charged into the mêlée to restore order as water canons and mounted officers were deployed to quell the unrest.
The second train of Ajax supporters had reached Rotterdam North before being ordered back by Mayor Opstelten. However, due to the vandalism in the train, the locomotive could not travel any further than the Rotterdam hinterland city of Nieuwerkerk aan den IJssel.
An estimated 800 Ajax fans stepped off the train and police and riot police kept the group under control until buses could be arranged to transport them to Amsterdam. About 300 fans returned home using transport they arranged themselves, while the rest were transported in buses.
Train traffic around Rotterdam was not possible for several hours due to the stranded trains, riots and vandalism. People travelling from Rotterdam to Dordrecht and Gouda encountered delays deep into the night.
The arrival of the fans in Amsterdam proceeded without incident as police recorded the identity of each person. Eight of the 43 people arrested were still being detained on Sunday night.
Sunday’s riots were described by news service ‘NOS’ as the worst outbreak of hooliganism since 1999, when unrest erupted on the Coolsingel, also in Rotterdam.
[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2005]
Subject: Dutch news