Squatters arrested at new law protest

Some 100 squatters were arrested in the Hague on Thursday during protests outside parliament after a majority of MPs voted in favour of a ban on squatting.

Squatters had also disrupted the debate in parliament itself, forcing chairwoman Gerdi Verbeet to have the public gallery cleared.
But there were no serious clashes and the arrests were made after squatters refused to leave the parliament square where they had set up a temporary tent camp, a police spokeswoman told Nos tv.
Earlier, Geert Wilders’ anti-immigration party PVV threw its weight behind legislation introducing the ban, giving it majority support. The bill was drawn up by the two Christian coalition parties CDA and ChristenUnie and the opposition Liberals VVD.
The new legislation brings in a maximum prison term of one year for squatting empty property, which can be doubled to two years if violence is involved.
Squatting has long been a part of the Dutch political scene but the movement has lost support in some quarters for using more violence and losing its ideological base. Nevertheless, Amsterdam, Utrecht, Rotterdam and The Hague city councils are all known to oppose the ban.

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