Security intensified at Utrecht asylum shelter

defaced church
A spray-painted message protesting asylum centers appeared on a church in Wezep. Sept. 24, 2015 (photo: Bert-Jan Dokter). (A spray-painted message protesting asylum centers appeared on a church in Wezep. Sept. 24, 2015 (photo: Bert-Jan Dokter))

Security was dramatically increased at the Jaarbeurs convention center in Utrecht where 500 asylum seekers will be housed temporarily, the city’s mayor, Jan van Zanen, told AD. No details were released about the increased measures.

A suspicious package found at an asylum reception center on Friday turned out to be a false alarm. Graffiti with anti-refugee messages has shown up on other asylum facilities around the Netherlands.

Anti-Islam and anti-refugee political party PVV has seen a dramatic rise in popularity in the Netherlands over the past six weeks, as party leader Geert Wilders has denounced the Cabinet's decision to work with the European Union on a plan to fairly distribute asylum seekers fleeing conflict zones in Syria and Eritrea.

The location of the Jaarbeurs shelter is on a higher floor at the Beatrix Building at conference center, the newspaper said, making it harder to attack. Asylum seekers will be ushered in through a side entrance, where the only access to the emergency shelter is via a freight elevator.

Security guards are permanently stationed at the elevator. This detail is among the protection that is increased, the newspaper noted.

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