Police to seal Utrecht streets for second night (update)
Wednesday 14 March 2007
The Utrecht neighbourhood of Ondiep is to be sealed off to outsiders for a second night on Wednesday, following two nights of clashes between youths and riot police, a city council spokesman confirmed.
The area has been ringed with fences which will be pulled across all roads later today, closing the area to non-residents. At least 130 people were arrested on Tuesday following a number of incidents in both in the city centre and on the fringes of Ondiep.
Police said the arrests included a number of football supporters from FC Utrecht, Rotterdam’s Feyenoord and Amsterdam’s Ajax who had come to the city looking for trouble. Some 60 people were arrested in Ondiep itself for breaking the ban on public gatherings.
The trouble began on Monday following the arrest of two people when youths went on the rampage after a 54-year-old man was shot dead by police. The police officer said he had felt threatened by the man who had a knife.
However, local residents told TV reporters that the man himself had called for police help after being harassed by a gang of youths.
Ondiep is a largely white, working-class neighbourhood and is the focus of the city council’s urban renewal efforts. Mayor Annie Brouwer is to meet local people again this afternoon.
A police spokesman told ANP that the area will probably be kept under tight control until after Thursday’s march (stille tocht) in memory of the dead man.