Rotterdam mayor had "special officers" with permission to shoot at weekend protests at Turkish consulate

Ahmed Aboutaleb
Ahmed Aboutaleb mayor of RotterdamRijksvoorlichtingsdienstWikimedia

Rotterdam mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb was very concerned that protests around the Turkish consulate in his city this weekend would devolve into a shooting. He therefore deployed special, armed officers to intervene if the situation got out of hand, Aboutaleb said to Nieuwsuur. "In order to be sure that if it came to an encounter, we would have the upper hand."

The protests were about the Netherlands refusing access to the country to two Turkish ministers, who wanted to campaign for a Turkish referendum that would give president Recep Tayyip Erdogan more power. One of them, Minister Sayan Kaya, spent hours sitting in her car in front of the Turkish consulate in Rotterdam. She was accompanied by several guards.

"We did not know whether these 'twelve broad men' were armed. Despite repeated attempts, we were unable to make contact with the consul", Aboutaleb said. He had to take into account the risk that the guards would draw weapons. "Luckily they surrendered, but the permission to shoot was given."

The Rotterdam mayor also said that he finds Erdogan's accusations of Nazism the worst. "A little sense of history can't hurt", Aboutaleb said. "I am, coincidentally, the mayor of a city that was bombed by the Nazis."

Earlier on Monday Aboutaleb said that he thinks the police acted correctly when breaking up riots around the consulate during the early hours of Sunday morning. Protesters pelted the police with stones and bottles. The riot police dispersed them using water cannons, dogs and batons. "If you take stones from the street and throw them at the police, then you run the risk that violence can be used against you. Then you must accept what happens", he said in an interview with Radio Rijnmond.