Beach-bash bashing for Rotterdam mayor

Published on 4 September 2009 at 10:43

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The “first cracks” are appearing in Ahmed Aboutaleb’s Rotterdam mayoralty, read today’s headlines onDe Volkskrant’sfront page. Aboutaleb, who was elected mayor last October and took office in January, is now embroiled in a city council debate over who is to blame for the mêlée that broke out at a big beach bash on 22 August. When the party, for which close to 28,000 people turned out on a beach near the port of Rotterdam, got out of hand, the police opened fire, leaving one dead and six wounded. The Dutch daily reports that, “of the 160 police officers on the scene that night, 21 made use of their firearms, killing a young man from Rotterdam.” In an editorial the paper wonders “whether repression alone is the answer to troubles of this sort. It is clear that a new generation of hooligans” – 200 to 300 troublemakers were there that night – “are moving their battleground from football stadiums, which are increasingly well guarded, to other events with the sole aim of baiting the police. To them, free events” – like the beach party near Rotterdam – “represent an open invitation.” The editorial concludes: “So Aboutaleb’s decision not to authorise any more free large-scale parties makes sense.”

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