Five guilty of rioting at refugee centre meeting in Geldermalsen

Statue of justice.

Four men have been jailed for rioting outside a meeting to discuss a planned refugee centre last December.

The four were given six-month sentences for their part in the violence, which broke out outside the town hall in Geldermalsen. A fifth suspect was sentenced to 100 hours’ community work.

All five were found guilty of violent disorder and disrupting the democratic order. The latter charge, which is rarely used, carries a maximum sentence of nine years in prison.

The men, who were at the front of the group of rioters, admitted taking part in the disturbance but argued that they were provoked by the police. The state prosecutor said people had clearly gone to the meeting intent on causing disorder, and requested a prison sentence of one year each.

The town council organised the meeting on December 16 to inform local residents about a proposed asylum seekers’ centre with space for 1,500 people. The scheme was abandoned and the municipality has said it will not make any new plans to house refugees until it has regained the trust of the local population.

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