A peaceful night in Duindorp, mayor says he won’t be blackmailed

A burned-out snack bar in Duindorp after the riots. Photo: Laurens van Putten / HH
A snack bar in Duindorp after the riots. Photo: Laurens van Putten / HH

It was relatively peaceful in the The Hague suburb of Duindorp on Tuesday night, following three successive nights of rioting, police said.

Police had sealed off the neighbourhood to keep out troublemakers and a police helicopter hovered above the area for a time. They did make four arrests but it is unclear on what grounds.

The riots follow a decision by locals not to organise a New Year’s eve bonfire this year, because of new city council regulations limiting the height of the fires to 10 metres. The builders claim their tradition, which actually started in the 1990s, is being taken away from them.

Elsewhere, in The Hague itself, there was a spate of small fires in waste bins and underground waste containers – more than normal for the time of year, a fire brigade spokesman told NOS.

Meanwhile, the city’s acting mayor Johan Remkes has described the trouble as ‘unacceptable’. ‘People living in the area feel intimidated and we cannot allow the street to run the country,’ he said.

On Tuesday, The Hague city council decided not to give a permit for a New Year bonfire to the seaside resort of Scheveningen this year because the permit application was incomplete and poorly executed.

‘We have looked at the permit applications on the basis of public order and safety,’ Remkes said. ‘If people think they are going to pressure us by rioting, they should think again. We will not be blackmailed.’

This year both Scheveningen and Duindorp were told they had to apply for permits to hold their New Year beach bonfire competition.  Last year, Scheveningen narrowly escaped major disaster after its fire sent whirlwinds of blazing cinders into the streets.

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