At least 35 people accused of arson or violent offences during the New Year celebrations will appear in court on Friday and Monday under new fast-track rules, reports the Telegraaf.
The four big cities of Rotterdam, The Hague, Amsterdam and Utrecht agreed to bring in speedy trials in an effort to clamp down on December 31-related violence.
But while officials in the big cities said they were pleased with the reduction in trouble compared with 2007, there were are number of incidents in smaller towns and rural areas.
The Volkskrant reports that a total of 800 people were arrested during the festivities, over 100 cars were set alight, 7,641 incidents involving fireworks were reported and emergency service workers were attacked in 20 different towns and villages.
The AD put the total number of arrests at 937. Of those, 151 were in The Hague, 86 in Rotterdam, 87 in Utrecht and 60 in Amsterdam, the paper said.
´We obviously need a change in mentality,´ Nijmgen mayor Thom de Graaf told the paper.
In another interview with Gelderland radio, De Graaf said he would not describe the festivities as peaceful. ‘I will not call it calm because I do not think it normal that people are arrested, that fires are set and Molotov cocktails are thrown,’ he said.
In Rotterdam a 19-year-old youth was killed and a 21-year-old is fighting for his life in hospital after being hit by an intercity train early on Thursday morning.
Insurers told the Telegraaf they expected fewer damage claims this year. In 2007, they paid out €33m in New Year-related claims.
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