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17 Feb, 2024 23:49

Migrants clash with police in The Hague (VIDEOS)

Hundreds of Eritrean rioters set cars on fire in the Dutch city
Migrants clash with police in The Hague (VIDEOS)

Police in riot gear were deployed to the streets of The Hague to quell violent clashes that broke out between two rival groups in the Dutch city late Saturday.

Two groups of Eritreans clashed in the Opera conference hall on Fruitweg Street. After an initial confrontation, police drove one group outside, attempting to keep the two apart. In the streets, rioters threw bricks, debris, and even bicycles at the conference hall and police.

Police in riot gear were seen protecting the hall from hundreds of rioters, while other first responders focused on the damage already done to the building.

The rioters set at least two police vehicles on fire. The emergency services attempted to control the fires, while officers were pulled in from surrounding areas to build up the police presence.

The mayor of The Hague, Jan van Zanen, declared a Grip 2 level regional emergency, which allows all emergency services to coordinate under a single commander. Tear gas was authorized, and the emergency order allowed police to stop and screen anyone in a 500-meter radius around the zone. 

“The Public Prosecution Service has set up a Large-Scale Investigation Team to prosecute perpetrators of this chaos. I would like to ask everyone who can contribute to the rapid identification of the perpetrators of this unacceptable and unnecessary violence to cooperate,” van Zanen said.

By evening, the conference hall was damaged but secured, while a row of cars outside the building was burned out. Around 800 people took shelter inside the hall during the riot. They were led out under police escort for their safety, and bused away after 10:30pm.

According to local news, one group of rioters opposes Eritrea’s current government, and the other is pro-government.

This is not the first occurrence of violence between Eritreans in Europe. More than 50 people were hurt at an Eritrean festival in Stockholm, Sweden in August last year, when more than 1,000 anti-government protesters stormed the event and fought with festival-goers, setting fire to tents and clashing with police.