Police officers injured, many arrested after riots in The Hague

Henry

At least six police officers were injured and 13 suspects arrested after Eritreans from rival groups clashed in the early hours of Sunday morning in The Hague, Netherlands, setting fire to police cars and throwing stones in the process.

Special police units fired tear gas at the rioters. The pro- and anti-Eritrean government groups attended a meeting in The Hague after which the violence broke out.

“During the riots, stones, fireworks and other items were thrown at police officers and the fire brigade. “Several rioters had weapons to beat people with,” the police said.

The rioters set fire to two police cars and a tour bus.

Police arrested 13 people and appealed for witnesses and those with video footage to come forward in their investigation into the riots. The suspects are men between 19 and 36 years old.

Jan van Zanen, mayor of The Hague, described the violence as “horrific and unacceptable”.

Geert Wilders, whose right-wing Partij voor de Vrijheid emerged as the largest party in last year’s election, railed against the violence on social media. “Arrest and deport,” he wrote on X.

“The Netherlands really had it up to here. Why is half the world allowed to come here to tear down our country, fight among themselves, throw stones at the police and set fire to their cars?

“I want to become the prime minister who finally brings order to this,” added Wilders.

There are about 25,000 Eritreans living in the Netherlands, according to official government figures.

Pro- and anti-government groups have clashed before, including last year when several people were wounded before an event to celebrate Eritrean independence from Ethiopia.