Purmerend votes against refugee centre

Migration ConceptPurmerend town council on Monday night voted against establishing a large refugee centre within its boundaries following protests from locals.

However, councillors did agree to house up to 200 asylum seekers in small-scale accommodation on the condition that people living nearby are in agreement. Four parties – the VVD, populist parties Leefbaar Purmerend and Trots, and pensioners’ party AOV – voted against that compromise as well.

Several dozen people gathered outside the town hall while the meeting was taking place. Three weeks ago a council meeting to discuss the refugee situation had to be abandoned after protesting locals stormed into the council chamber.

Meanwhile in The Hague, the city council has identified three locations for refugees, most of whom will be placed in the former Social Affairs ministry building on the Bezuidenhout.

In Amsterdam, local broadcaster AT5 reports that Jewish groups are worried about plans to set up an emergency refugee centre in an empty office complex in the suburb of Amstelveen.

Spokesman Ron van der Wieken told AT5 that some of the Syrian and Iraqi asylum seekers who would be put up in the converted offices have been brought up to dislike Jews.

‘This is not the right location,’ Van der Wieken said. ‘We have major questions about it. This is the only Jewish neighbourhood in the Netherlands where Jews are recognisable on the street.’

The location is close to synagogues, Jewish schools, kosher restaurants, shops and a Jewish graveyard, AT5 says.

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