Nieuws - 24 januari 2011

Commotion at end of student protest

The student protest in The Hague did take a disturbing turn when three hundred students headed for the Parliament buildings and clashed with the riot police.

The riots started at OCW.
The main demonstration itself had taken place fairly calmly. When it was the turn to speak for the last speaker, State Secretary Halbe Zijlstra was jeered with fireworks and much booing. Zijstra said he understood the reason for the protest, but emphasized that cost cuts are necessary to avoid having to settle huge state debts in the future.
It was afterwards that things got heated up. The protestors headed for the Ministry of Education. Students tried to push their way through and fire crackers were ignited. Small plastic bags were thrown about which subsequently exploded with a loud bang.
At the ministry, the police meted out punches and deployed dogs and horses in the process. Radio 1 reported an upsurge of violence on the square after protestors pelted police with tomatoes and cans. The long arm of the law then swept the square clean of all traces of students. It was also reported that bricks and fireworks were thrown and there were at least four arrests.
The riot police drove the protestors towards the Central Station at a punitive pace. According to the reporter of Radio 1, the protestors were driven almost into the trains. The peace seemed to return then.
The heady protest march had already been proclaimed earlier in the afternoon in a press release. 'Standing in a park in the muddy ground is not enough to stop the cabinet's plans' was what 'a group of angry students' wrote. They are affiliated to students in other countries such as Italy, England and Turkey.
Many students are displeased at the riots, as shown by Twitter messages such as: 'Idiots who run amok in The Hague are themselves the knowledge crisis' and 'Commotion in The Hague after the protest. Regrettable; counterproductive.'