Police, protesters clash in Netherlands over plan for refugees
Clashes have broken out in the Netherlands between police and demonstrators protesting against government plans to house over 1,000 refugees and asylums seekers in a town in the country’s west.
Violence erupted at the municipal council in the town of Geldermalsen, where a meeting aimed at discussing the accommodation of 1,500 refugees was being held late Wednesday.
Officials inside the council were forced to evacuate to higher floors after demonstrators stormed the building.
Police sources said warning shots had been fired and that at least one protester had been detained. No injuries were reported.
According to officials, some 2,000 people had taken part in the protest.
Miranda de Vries, the mayor of Geldermalsen, located about 60 kilometers (37 miles) southeast of Amsterdam, said she had been saddened by the protests against the plan, which considers housing the refugees in a local center for 10 years.
The country’s Deputy Justice Minister Klaas Dijkhoff, who deals with immigration and asylum affairs, also voiced disappointment over the incident, saying it was “un-Dutch.”
The development came a day after the European Union unveiled its plan to establish a new border and coast guard agency.
Authorities say the agency is aimed at increasing security at the borders of the bloc’s 28 member states, which have been receiving an unprecedented wave of refugees in recent months from the Middle East and Africa.
Under the plan, the agency will be allowed to intervene in crisis situations without requesting permission from host countries.
Figures released by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) show that some 933,77o refugees have reached Europe’s shores so far this year while more than 3,619 people have died before reaching the continent.