Hague protest planned on anniversary of Aruban man's death in police custody

Mitch Henriques (Picture: Facebook/Mitch Henriquez). (Mitch Henriques (Picture: Facebook/Mitch Henriquez))

Protest group MAD Mothers will be protesting against police brutality in The Hague on Monday, June 27th - the one year anniversary of Aruban man Mitch Henriquez' death in police custody.

According to the Facebook event page, the protest will be held on Stationplein between 5:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Monday. So far 19 people confirmed that they are attending, 97 are intersted and over 1,800 were invited.

Mitch Henriquez died in The Hague last year after being arrested at the music festival Night at the Park. The Rijksrecherche - the department that handles internal investigations at the police - investigated the matter and determined that Henriquez died due to police violence. The investigators wrote that "external mechanical compressive force on the neck" caused by "strangulation as part of a chokehold" is what caused his death.

The 42-year-old Aruban man's death led to four consecutive days of rioting in The Hague neighborhood Scilderswijk. Police officers were attacked, property was damaged and a total of 260 people were eventually arrested.

The five police officers involved in Henriquez death appeared in court for a pre-trial hearing in February. The hearing happened behind closed doors. Once the investigation on both the Public Prosecutor and the suspected officers' lawyers' side, the Prosecutor will determine whether they will be prosecuted.

"The perpetrators go unpunished, and as in most similar cases, the officers will not be convicted of murder", the MAD Mothers (Mothers Against Discrimination) write on the event page. "Meanwhile a year later, a bill by Minister Van der Steur (Security and Justice, ed) is on the table which will make it impossible to call police officers as suspects, but only as witnesses. This makes police violence institutionalized and thus brings the Netherlands as police- and apartheid-state one step closer."

The MAD Mothers call on everyone interested to join their protest against "police violence and racist profiling".  "Every day thousands of people are in danger of being the next victim of deadly police violence", they write. "The next one can be your friend, father, brother, uncle, lover or son!"

They list names of people killed by police brutality, according to them. The list includes Mitchel Winters, Jerry Landveld, Rupert Lodovica, Ihsan Gurz, Michael Koomen, Mitch Henriquez, Rinus van Loos, Wensley Udenhout, Rishi Chandrikasing, Mike Stok, Barry Kouwenberg, "and many other defenseless victims of unpunished, senseless, extreme police violence."