Man caught at Charlie Hebdo rally had "sizeable knife"

Crowd gathered at Charlie Hebdo rally
Over 18,000 gather on Dam Square to support free speech after the Charlie Hebdo shootings in Paris, Jan 8, 2015 (photo: Zack Newmark / NL Times). (Over 18,000 gather on Dam Square to support free speech after the Charlie Hebdo shootings in Paris, Jan 8, 2015 (photo: Zack Newmark / NL Times))

A man held by Amsterdam police during Thursday’s minute of silence for the recent Paris shootings had a large knife in his possession. He disrupted the quiet moment by singing comedian Hans Teeuwen’s song “Het vrije woord,” a song about free speech.

The knife was found after police searched the 27-year-old Amsterdam resident, Mayor Eberhard van der Laan revealed on local television station AT5.

“I only heard about it afterwards,” he said. “I understand that the man was not only disruptive during the one minute, but that he also had been grabbing bystanders and was really running around in a disruptive manner,” he told the broadcaster.

“Later, when he was arrested, he was found to have a sizeable knife.”

The mayor went on to defend police making the arrest at a free speech rally. He said the man was taken into custody for disturbing public order, not for what he said.

“If you commemorate such a horrible thing with a minute of silence, then my initial response is that such an arrest is not crazy,” Mayor van der Laan said.

The suspect was written up in a formal police report and released later that evening.

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