Protest against Afghan refugees "heartless" and "reprehensible", Ministers say
Serious and reprehensible. That is how Defense Minister Ank Bijleveld described the demonstration that got out of hand on Tuesday evening at a military barracks in Harskamp, where Afghan asylum seekers are being received. Foreign Affairs Minister Sigrid Kaag called the demonstration "heartless", but said that generous and understanding reactions from the Netherlands are louder.
About 250 people came to the protest in the village in the municipality of Ede. It got out of hand around 21:30. Those present did not heed calls from the police to leave, car tires were set on fire and slogans like "own people first" and "Harskamp is ours" were shouted.
"I think it's terrible, really terrible," Bijleveld said on Wednesday. "I think these people should really watch TV, what's happening in the world. How happy we should be that we're free and can do what we can do." The Minister thinks that "people do not realize the suffering in the world".
"If you are in need, you also want to be taken care of," she said to the demonstrators. "I hope they realize that.
Minister Kaag said that she mainly wants to focus on people who make a constructive contribution to the reception by, for example bringing items. "They show that we are the Netherlands, that we are tolerant, that we have respect and that we are there for people in need. That is the real answer and as far as I am concerned, those are the Dutch values."
Reporting by ANP.