Justice Minister denounces attacks on journalists after Venlo murder

Police and paramedics at the scene of a fatal shooting in Blerick, Venlo, 1 Nov 2017
Police and paramedics at the scene of a fatal shooting in Blerick, Venlo, 1 Nov 2017Photo: Politie

A group of men threatened and harassed journalists in the Venlo district of Blerick on Thursday. A reporter and cameraman from PowNed were assaulted, and journalists from ANP and NOS were also targeted. Minister Ferdinand Grapperhaus of Justice and Security denounced these attacks, calling them unacceptable in the weekly ministerial council on Friday, according to 1Limburg.

The group of about 15 men gathered on the street where a 22-year-old man was shot and killed on Wednesday. When journalists approached them, they responded with aggression, according to broadcaster NOS. "They were afraid that the media would twist the story and said we'd better go if we valued our lives", NOS reporter Ardy Stemerding said to the broadcaster.

Some of the young men tried to take a camera off an ANP photographer. The PowNed reporter and cameraman were pushed to the ground and kicked. The police arrested a 23-year-old man for taking a microphone from the a PowNed journalist. 

According to newspaper AD, 22-year-old Omer Koksal from Blerick was killed in Wednesdays' shooting, the third shooting in the district in just over two months. All three shootings were drug related, according to Venlo Mayor Antoin Scholten. 

A 21-year-old man from Tegelen was arrested in connection with Koskal's murder. According to De Limurger, the suspect told the police that a confrontation between young people with a Turkish background and young people with an Antillean background led to the shooting. They got into an argument in a coffeeshop in Venlo. According to the suspect, the groups went to Blerick where the argument got out of hand, and Koskal was shot and killed. The suspect claims that he was not the one who shot the victim, and that his friends also had no weapons, according to the newspaper.