New Year violence still unacceptable, says Dutch justice minister

Although there were less violent incidents during the New Year festivities compared with last year, the number of attacks on emergency service workers is still unacceptable, justice minister Ivo Opstelten said on Tuesday.


In total, there were 8,094 incidents, down 350 on a year ago, Opstelten said. The number of attacks on police, ambulance staff and firemen fell from 110 to 74.
Some 61 people were arrested in connection with these attacks, the minister said.
Riot police
According to Nos television, several police officers in the Zuid-Holland town of Moordrecht, south of Gouda, were forced to flee into a private home to escape a gang of youths.
They were responding to reports that a gang of youths was smashing windows and vandalising a house. Riot police were brought in to restore order and 18 youths were arrested.
Nationwide, over 1,000 people were arrested for setting fires, fighting, vandalism and other offences, down from 1,300 a year ago. Nevertheless, the total is still too high, Opstelten said.
‘We won’t accept it,’ the Telegraaf reported him as saying. ‘We have to continue our efforts to ensure New Year remains a party.’
Fireworks
The minister also called on local councils to do more to organise their own firework shows, as happens in France.
However, the minister said he recognises there is a tradition of letting off fireworks in the Netherlands after midnight and that this is an ‘important tradition’, the Telegraaf said.
Rain dampens New Year spirits, fewer arrests and injuries

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