Riot police break up fights at Turkish polling station in Amsterdam

Riot police at the ready outside the Rai. Photo: ANP Inter Visual Studio
Riot police at the ready outside the Rai. Photo: ANP Inter Visual Studio

Riot police were drafted to the Rai exhibition centre in Amsterdam on Sunday evening after fighting broke out between different groups of people during voting in the Turkish general elections.

The scuffles started around 9pm, but it was not until 2.30am that the last of the troublemakers left the area, a police spokesman told the Telegraaf.

Images circulating on social media showed several groups of men fighting in one of the exhibition halls and police stepping in to break them up. There were no arrests.

Broadcaster NOS said later the trouble had been called by observers from the parties contesting the election who were making sure that voting was free and fair.

Sunday was the last day Turkish Dutch dual nationals could vote in the Turkish presidential and parliamentary elections. Voting locations were also open in The Hague, Deventer and Eindhoven.

The main contest is between current president Recep Tayyip Erdogan and opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu.

Some 250,000 Dutch Turks were eligible to vote. People of Turkish origin in the Netherlands are automatically given Turkish nationality when they are born, which confers voting rights.

In 2018, around one in three Dutch Turks actually voted, almost 73% of whom backed sitting president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, according to Turkish paper

Note: This article has been updated to reflect the fact the men involved in the brawls were observers.

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