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Amsterdam squatters clash with police

Dutch police have evacuated dozens of squatters who have long been living in unoccupied buildings in Amsterdam, triggering protests.

Police, who were reportedly responding to claims by the legal owners of the buildings, in riot gear marched through barricades set up by the squatters, using water cannons to disperse the protesters who were being kicked out of their homes.

Several hundreds of protesters had gathered on Monday night to protest at the evictions. Police consequently arrested four squatters for throwing stones and paint at them.

A Hague appeals court, however, ordered a halt to the evictions, saying they violate the European Treaty on Human Rights, which forbids the forced removal of people from their residences unless a judge has affirmed the legitimacy of the eviction.

The first five evictions, however, went ahead on Tuesday as a civil court had already approved them, the Canadian Press reported.

A final ruling is expected to be issued next week; the outcome of which is still unclear.

The Netherlands has long tolerated squatters, but has recently criminalized it under a new law that took effect on October 1.

A protest against the law took place on September 30, but ended in violence as demonstrators clashed with police, staring fires in Amsterdam’s historic city center.

In recent years, the Netherlands has leaned more on the conservative side, with a rise in anti-foreigner sentiment. As more immigrants continue to enter the country, they comprise larger numbers of people living there without a legal property of their own.

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