Mayor apologizes for asylum center handling long after 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)

Geldermalsen Mayor Miranda de Vries once again apologized for the way the municipality dealt with plans for an asylum center in the town. The municipality should have communicated better with the residents of Geldermalsen, she said at the beginning of a council meeting on Tuesday on the turmoil the asylum debate caused in the municipality, RTL Nieuws reports.

The meeting was held in De Lingeborgh school hall. In addition to the city council, some 400 residents also attended the meeting. They were not allowed to speak, but were allowed to watch. Not all attendees adhered to this rule, and shouting could be heard every now and again, according to the broadcaster.

After three hours of discussion the VVD and two local factions filed a motion of no confidence against the De Vries and her aldermen, but it did not get the majority vote. After surviving the motion, De Vries promised that they will not again come with proposals for an asylum center before a thorough consultation with the residents.

The reason for the meeting was the riots that erupted in Geldermalsen during an information evening on a proposed asylum center in the town on December 16th. The proposal was for an asylum center housing 1,500 asylum seekers in the municipality.

De Vries withdrew the plans shortly after the riots, leading to criticism from several sides that her backing down creates the image that violence works for getting your way.

A number of Geldermalsen residents think that De Vries' apologies are too late or not enough, the commented to RTL. One resident told the broadcaster that the mayor has to quit, holding up a sign that read "away with mayor and aldermen".