Grenade left in front of Haarlem City Hall; Area promptly evacuated

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New Dutch police uniforms feature a broad yellow stripe (photo: Politie)New Dutch police uniforms feature a broad yellow stripe (photo: Politie)

Police in Haarlem evacuated the popular Grote Markt area on Wednesday after an apparent hand grenade was left on the stairs at City Hall. The suspicious device was removed by explosives experts, police said just after 5 p.m.

While police did not speculate on the motive, Haarlem's current mayor, Jos Wienen, has been the target of threats for over a year. His security detail was just relaxed last week, which he was pleased about. He told broadcaster NH Nieuws, "That means that I can walk and cycle freely through the city again, and that I can largely live at home again."

A suspicious device was first reported to emergency services at about 3:45 p.m. By the top of the hour the incident alarm was elevated to a Grip 1, a protocol where all responding agencies coordinate under a single commander and communication with the local mayor, municipal policymakers, and regional safety officials is organized.

The area was reopened to the public once the grenade was removed, police confirmed.

Once threats about Wienen were made public, hundreds of the city's residents rallied in the Grote Markt in support of Wienen. In his interview with NH Nieuws this week he said he was excited about the prospect of finally being able to visit his kids and grandchildren spontaneously again.

Members of motorcycle gang Hells Angels were also tied to the 2015 arson of a car belonging to Bernt Schneiders, Haarlem's mayor at the time.