Crowds gather in Amsterdam to protest 12-year-old boy's arrest
Some 100 people gathered on the Bijlmerplein in Amsterdam Zuidoost on Thursday night to protest against the arrest of a 12-year-old boy on the square earlier this week. Activist Jeffrey Afriyie and politician Sylvana Simons were among the protesters. "Let this be the last tie we deliver our children to people that would rather lock them up than bring them up." Afriyie said speaking at the protest, AD reports.
The boy was stopped by enforcement officers at the Amsterdamse Poort shopping center for cycling where he is not allowed to. The boy refused to show the enforcers identification and gave them a fake name. They cuffed the child nd handed him over to the police, while outraged bystanders watched. Videos of the boy's arrest quickly spread through social media.
The protest was organized by Controle Alt Delete, a non-profit organization dedicated to fighting against ethnic profiling by the police. The boy himself was at the protest, but stayed in the background. His parents asked that he remain anonymous due to his young age. The boy's mother said through a spokesperson that her son's arrest made her "cry her heart" out. The boy is doing well under the circumstances, though he is "very shaken".
Kitty Balker, a well known anti-Zwarte Piet activist, called on people to act when they see a child being arrested, instead of just shouting and filming what happens. "How can we allow this? if we do not stand up for our children, no one will. Calling that it is racism, makes no difference to this boy. Next time ask why a person is being handcuffed. As long as we do not know our rights, they will continue to mess with us."
Politician Sylvan Simons also attended. "I'm here because I think it is important that we send a signal to one another that things can not continue like this", Simons said, according to the newspaper. "We can not experience these things every week and insist tht they are incidents. There is a structural problem within law enforcement in the Netherlands. A boy of 12 years being humiliated in this way and having his scene of security affected, has far reaching consequences."
At the end of the demonstration the protesters turned to the cops lining the square. "No further than this", they called.
Protest Bijlmerplein nadat een zwarte jongen (12) werd aangehouden omdat hij op de stoep fietste en geen ID had. Genoeg! Stop racisme! pic.twitter.com/rYbrAW1s5Y