Five people are appearing in court accused of rioting outside a town hall meeting to discuss refugees last December.
The public prosecution department says they should be jailed for up to one year for their part in the riots. A total of 44 people were arrested after violence broke out outside the meeting in Geldermalsen, which the local council had organised to inform residents about plans to build an accommodation centre for 1,500 asylum seekers.
Charges were brought against 32 suspects, mostly for vandalism, violent disorder or making threats to councillors. The five appearing in court on Monday are also accused of disrupting the democratic process, a rarely cited offence that carries a maximum sentence of nine years in prison.
The municipality’s mayor, Miranda de Vries, apologised in January for the way the public was informed about the plans for the centre, which have since been scrapped. Around 400 people turned up for the meeting on December 17 but were given no opportunity to have their say on the issue.
The council has said it will not bring forward any more plans to house refugees until it has regained the trust of the local population.
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