Riots ‘highly counterproductive”, Justice Min says

Rioting and unrest in three Dutch cities in the past week is highly counter-productive, Justice and Security Ferd Grapperhaus said on Thursday. The rioting surprised many, and was believed by some to have been born out of youth frustration, boredom, and anger related to government rules in place to stop the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 novel coronavirus.

“This is not tolerable. We have a social issue, coronavirus, which no one has asked for. We are trying to solve it as best we can,“. Grapperhaus said. “The last thing you should do is riot, [and] commit vandalism,” he said, according to newswire ANP.

Grapperhaus called the unrest in Amersfoort, The Hague and Utrecht anti-social, saying that it was not only young people involved in the criminality. “I also see guys aged 30 or 40 walking in between,” he said.

The minister was set to speak with the mayors of those three cities next week to determine if the national government could offer more assistance.

On Wednesday a third person was arrested for inciting riots in the Kanaleneiland district of Utrecht. The 21-year-old from IJsselstein is accused of using social media to rally people to cause trouble in the streets, the Public Prosecution Service said.

A 17-year-old from Utrecht was also taken into custody for throwing rocks at police and setting off fireworks during the unrest. He was found using closed-circuit video images.