Multiple arrests in Zaandam neighborhood unrest

Dutch police officers (Stock Photo: Politie)Dutch police officers (Stock Photo: Politie)

The police arrested multiple people in the Zaandam neighborhood of Poelenburg on Monday night. The exact number of arrests are unclear, as are reason they were arrested. The Volkskrant reports that four troublemakers were arrested. According to the Twitter account of police officer Mike Koenekoop, 8 arrests were made.

RTV Noord-Holland reports that local residents were arrested. But according to the Volkskrant, the police could not confirm this.

Poelenburg has been restless for a few weeks. The neighborhood made headlines last week when a group of young people threatened a Hart van Nederland news crew. The news crew was reporting on harassment and intimidation at a local shopping center.

On Friday a swastika and racist messages were spray painted on the Vomar supermarket in the shopping center. On Sunday city councilor Juliette Rot pressed intimidation charges after she was harassed while giving an interview about the vandalism at the supermarket. The police are investigating.

On Monday night the municipality of Zaanstad, the police and the Public Prosecutor announced extra surveillance in the neighborhood. The police will act against gatherings, there will be extra patrols and some area bans may be implemented.

On Tuesday police unions called for police officers to be given more and clearer powers to deal with rioters, the Telegraaf reports. According to the unions, the police officers are often uncertain about what they may and may not do against troublemakers like in Poelenburg.

ACP president Gerrit van de Kamp thinks a "cooling off period" is ideal in dealing with rioting youths. According to him, it is important that there are no criminal consequences, as being prosecuted can often increase a young person's status in such a group. "Take them away for 24 hours or more and diffuse the situation. In this way you can also separate the group leaders from the hangers-on and break up group behavior", he said to the newspaper.