Police fired several warning shots into the air in Rotterdam on Tuesday night as a group of fighting youths disrupted the Liberation Day festival, forcing an early end to the festivities.
The trouble broke out at around 10pm when police received reports someone had been stabbed in the Zalmhaven area, where the atmosphere was already said to have turned sour.
Aggressive festival goers then turned on the police, Nos tv says. Several officers felt so threatened after being bombarded with bottles and other missiles that they were forced to draw their guns and fire into the air, Nos tv said.
It is extremely rare for Dutch police to use their guns in this way. No-one was hurt in the incident.
No-one was found to have been stabbed and hospitals did not report treating anyone for stab wounds, Nos said.
The AD said eyewitnesses reported fighting between skinheads and ‘dark-skinned’ youths.
‘People panicked,’ one eyewitness told the Telegraaf. ‘Everyone was trying to get away and to safety.’ ‘It was complete chaos,’ said another.
The festival had been due to end at 11pm, but by 10.45pm everyone had left the area.
Rotterdam’s mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb told RTV Rijnmond the fighting was completely unacceptable and showed a total lack of respect. An investigation into the evening’s events has now begun.
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