Multiple pepper spray incidents at ADE events; 'calm' edition, municipality says

Scene from the Amsterdam Dance Event 2014 (photo: ADE_NL/Twitter)Scene from the Amsterdam Dance Event 2014 (photo: ADE_NL/Twitter)

Pepper spray was released at four Amsterdam Dance Event parties over the weekend. Multiple attendees had to be treated for burning eyes and breathing problems, though no one had to go to hospital. Despite these incidents, the city of Amsterdam speaks of a "calm" 23rd edition of the dance festival.

The first pepper spray incident happened during a Martin Garrix performance in RAI Amsterdam around 3:30 a.m. on Saturday, Het Parool reports. Paramedics treated a number of visitors for burning eyes and coughing. The hall did not need to be evacuated and the performance continued undisturbed.

The same happened at ADE parties in the Westelijke Havengebied, the Johan Cruijff Arena and the Kromhouthal during the early hours of Sunday morning. A total of 28 people were treated by paramedics. The police arrested one suspect. 

"Extraordinarily annoying", a spokesperson for ADE described the incidents to Het Parool. According to the newspaper, pepper spray is often used by pickpockets as a way to distract their target. 

Despite these incidents, the city of Amsterdam described the 23rd edition of the Amsterdam Dance Event as "calm" in a statement released on Monday. The city performed 121 inspections to make sure all event organizers were adhering to the rules - such as providing free drinking water, having first aid facilities on site, and searching attendees for weapons and drugs. In 32 cases not everything was in order. Seven of these involved noise standards being exceeded. The violations were discussed wit the organizers, and adjustments were made, according to the city.

This year the Amsterdam Dance Event consisted of over a thousand events with performances by around 2,500 artists, spread over nearly 200 locations. The event attracted a record number of 400 thousand visitors from over a hundred countries, according to the Telegraaf.