Police boss praises cops’ commitment during NYE response; Some officers hurt
The police were able to keep the unrest around New Year's celebrations under control because of the large numbers of officers deployed, said national commander Willem Woelders. Still, it was tense and restless in many places, according to the commander.
"It is sad that aid workers were injured yet again. Every injured officer or aid worker is one too many," said Woelders. It is unknown how many officers were injured.
One officer was kicked in the head several times when she tried to arrest someone in Breukelen. She also received several other strikes to her head during the struggle, resulting in a concussion. Another officer broke a bone in his hand. The two were trying to question a man setting off heavy fireworks at a bus station there when they were confronted by his relatives. Three men were arrested as a result, including a 19-year-old and 49-year-old from Breukelen, and a 26-year-old from Maarssen.
According to Woelders, police officers and other aid workers were harassed or attacked throughout the country. The riot police had to be deployed in several places. Most injuries to first responders were caused by glass and fireworks being thrown during New Year’s restlessness.
Such was the case in Amsterdam, where police were dispatched to put an end to a New Year's meet-up at Dam Square that drew anywhere from 3,000 to 4,000 people. Police officers used their batons on some who refused to leave, and fireworks were reportedly lobbed at the police. Nevertheless, the party was largely broken-up by 1 a.m.
However, in other places, like Bovensmilde, Drenthe, and Budaard, Friesland, rioting continued past 5 a.m. Rocks and fireworks were thrown at the police in both locations. At the town in Friesland, police used teargas to clear some neighborhoods. Firefighters were also harassed as they tried to extinguish fires there, something which also happened in Rotterdam.
The commander said that the preparation for the turn of the new year was very important. "Our preparation over the past few months meant that the police were everywhere on time when problems arose. As a result, it never really got out of control."
Reporting by ANP