Rijswijk city council, family members threatened over asylum issue

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A number of Rijswijk city councilors have received threatening letters after the council agreed with the arrival of an asylum center in the municipality last week. Both Rijswjk mayor Michiel Bezuijen and Prime Minister Mark Rutte called this "totally unacceptable". The Prime Minister went as far as to describe the incidents as bizarre, appalling and reprehensible.

PvdA councilor Yvonne Hagenaars received a letter threatening her daughters, according to newspaper AD. "Good day Yvonne. Firstly, what lovely daughters you have. Mmm. If the asylum center comes, I will find them at school. Think ff carefully about that asylum center. Okay?"

D66 councilor Mark Storm also received a threatening letter. "Mister Storm, do you not still want to think about whether there should be an asylum center. I have seen you as you walk and you seem like a very reasonable guy. I have noticed and others notice you too." the letter reads, according to the newspaper.

"That is totally unacceptable", Prime Minister Rutte said to broadcaster NOS about the letters before he entered the parliamentary debate on the refugee crisis. He feels that people may disagree about the reception of asylum seekers, but that the line to threats of violence may never be crossed.

Rijswijk Mayor Bezuijen has a similar opinion. "It is totally unacceptable when councilors are hindered in the democratic exercise of their duties", he wrote on the municipality's website.

A spokesperson for the municipality told RTL Nieuws that the police and judiciary are investigating the threats, but would make no further comments on the matter.

Last week the Rijswijk city council approved the opening of a asylum shelter in the municipality that will accommodate 500 refugees in the next three to five years. On Tuesday State Secretary Klaas Dijkhoff of Security and Justice stated that he expects between 50 thousand and 60 thousand asylum applications this year. Up until September a total of 35,900 asylum seekers have arrived in the Netherlands.

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