Fewer refugees arrive, mayor says he will keep non-locals out of meetings

Migration Concept refugeesThe number of new asylum seekers in the Netherlands fell again last week, this time to 1,600, according to justice ministry figures.

In the previous week, 2,200 people arrived and in the first week of October 2,500.

Junior justice minister Klaas Dijkhoff said despite the downward trend, maximum effort was still needed to ensure there are enough beds for all those arriving and homes for those who have been given temporary permits to stay.

Meanwhile, Haarlem’s mayor Bernt Schneiders said information evenings about refugee centres can be closed to outsiders if far-right groups continue to make trouble.

‘I am allowed to invite who I want,’ Schneiders, who is chairman of the Dutch mayors’ association, told television talk show Pauw.

‘It is extremely annoying that people from outside the area come to these meetings and stir up trouble,’ Schneiders said. In addition, it is intimidating for people who want to express an opinion and end up needing a police escort to go home, he said.


Schneiders was joined on the show by Constant Kusters, leader of the far-right Nederlandse Volks-Unie, who has admitted sending supporters to meetings in several towns.

He denied his supporters are intimidating. ‘The shouting might not be nice but it shows the anger,’ Kusters said.

Earlier in the evening a meeting in Alkmaar about an emergency refugee centre with 600 beds in a former office building passed off peacefully. Despite some local opposition, the centre is likely to go ahead, news agency ANP says, adding that Alkmaar has had a refugee centre for 26 years with no problems.

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