Rutte denouces anti-Afghan protests in Ede; says evacuation stop is "terrible news"
Prime Minister Mark Rutte had sharp words for the people in Ede who demonstrated against Afghan evacuees on Tuesday evening.
Around 250 protestors turned up at the Harskamp army camp in Ede on Tuesday with signs such as “Harskamp is ours” and “own people first”. A loud bang resounded between 9:30 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. when someone set fire to a pile of car tires.
“I was deeply hurt: how can you even think of doing this when you also know that this is heard by people who return traumatized from Afghanistan?”, the prime minister said on Thursday.
Around 800 evacuees will be housed at Harskamp. The camp serves as temporary accommodation until more permanent housing is found.
“The vast majority of the Netherlands understands that these are people who deserve our protection and who worked for us”, Rutte said. He asked people not to demonstrate close to reception locations for Afghan people.
The Netherlands will stop evacuating people from Afghanistan on Thursday. Rutte called the development “terrible news”.
“It is bad news that we cannot take Dutch people and their families, as well as, others that we wanted to evacuate with us right now”, Rutte said. Hundreds more people are on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' lists to be evacuated. The Cabinet is working “feverishly” to support them as best possible, the prime minister stated.
American president Joe Biden announced on Tuesday that August 31 will remain the date on which American troops depart from Afghanistan. The Netherlands and other countries, including Germany, France and the United Kingdom, were still busy flying people out of Kabul.
The Cabinet claimed to have evacuated 1,500 people from the Afghan capital.