More threats made against politician, family in asylum debate riots

Anti-asylum center protest in Geldermalsen, Dec 16th 2015 (Photo: Geldermalsen zegt nee tegen AZC/Facebook)Anti-asylum center protest in Geldermalsen, Dec 16th 2015 (Photo: Geldermalsen zegt nee tegen AZC/Facebook)

Lourens van Bruchem, SGP municipal councilor in Geldermalsen, and his family were threatened with death if he voted for the asylum center the municipality has planned. An as yet unidentified man called his house phone and made the threats to his son, the politician told broadcaster NOS.

The threats were made before the riots that shook the town on Wednesday night. Protesters tried to storm the town hall and threw fireworks, stones and cans at police officers during the council meeting on the asylum center. Fourteen people were arrested. The police believe that more arrests may follow soon.

"The phone rang at home and my oldest son answered." Van Bruchem said to the broadcaster. "He was told that we would all get it if his father voted for a refugee center." The SGP councilor plans to press charges later on Thursday.

Speculation on where the rioters came from is running wild throughout Geldermalsen. One resident told the broadcaster that he saw many young people he did not recognize. "and I know many young people from the neighborhood", he said. "Between the people there were also many Rotterdam and Hague residents. I was approached by a guy from The Hague who asked if I want to go to Rotterdam next week. He told me that they travel in groups to go riot."

The founders of the anti-asylum center Facebook groups Geldermalsen zegt nee tegen azc and Zeg nee tegen azc both denied their involvement in the riots. One of the founders has been living in the town for almost 30 years. He too told NOS that he did not recognize the rioters. "It's ridiculous. This was a small group of troublemakers."