Five arrests in riots in Maastricht, officer treated after throwing fireworks

The police arrested five people on Sunday afternoon in Maastricht who disrupted a demonstration of Kick Out Zwarte Piet (KOZP). Three of them were arrested for throwing fireworks. It caused a cop to suffer hearing damage. He was treated at the hospital, said a police spokeswoman. The three are suspected of attempted assault. The police do not rule out more arrests after reading CCTV footage.

KOZP started the demonstration with about fifteen people at the Vrijthof. It turned out there were hundreds of counterprotesters on their feet. The police took the anti-racism activists to another place in Maastricht to calm their minds. The demonstration was continued at the Maaskade, but there too it came to confrontations with counter-protesters. After an hour, KOZP stopped the demonstration on its own accord. The group was taken under police protection to a safe place outside the city.

According to Mayor Annemarie Penn-te Strake, police, municipality and justice received signals in the course of Saturday that a large group of counter-protesters would be coming. Then the police deployments were scaled up on Sunday. The mobile unit (ME) had to intervene repeatedly, including dogs and horses. The ME formed a cordon around KOZP‘s activists to keep away counter-protesters. They threw fireworks and bricks at the police. The riots, which would involve hooligans, only decreased after KOZP was taken away from the city centre and it began to rain.

This is not right to talk

Mayor Annemarie Penn-te Strake of Maastricht said afterwards that it was regrettable that the police had to intervene. โ€œDemonstration is a fundamental right, so a demonstration cannot be banned. It is our duty to protect this fundamental right, including in this coronatiy, because demonstrations fall under the exceptions. The fact that people wanted to disrupt that demonstration is not right.โ€

Among the counterprotesters were supporters of football club MVV. Football club MVV says not to know about the situation. โ€œWe do not welcome it, especially when there is violence, but as a club we have no control over what people do outside our stadium. The demonstration did not happen in MVV time. We leave it to justice to judge whether these people have done something wrong,โ€ says a spokesman. โ€œIf you disagree with something, you can make it heard. Use your common sense go into conversation with each other.โ€

Almost all local Sinterklaas tours have been cancelled because of corona.

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