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Op-Ed: How not to celebrate Liberation Day (video)

By Adriana Stuijt     May 7, 2009 in Politics
This week's violent confrontations in Rotterdam, in which encircled local police had to fire warning shots during Liberation Day riots in Europe's largest harbour city, 'were probably planned', its mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb said at a press conference.
Aboutaleb told the Dutch news media that 'the riots were probably planned as sticks bearing nails were found at the scene". He has called on eyewitnesses to contact the police, and to also send them any video material they might have filmed during the riots.
The mayor has launched an investigation into the rioting.
Dutch police are not fond of pulling their guns - but on Wednesday, they were forced to fire warning shots to keep the crowd away from them. Some news reports claim that the riots were caused by a 'hard core of Feyenoord footbal club supporters' -- the police were encircled by the aggressive crowd and forced to fire a series of warning shots. No-one was injured. The festivities in Rotterdam's city centre ended abruptly afer this event. Since there's still an investigation going on, nobody knows who the rioters were.
Amsterdam Liberation Day celebrations were beautiful
In neighbouring Amsterdam however, the atmosphere was entirely different: liberation day there was celebrated by a stunning public concert, with the orchestra seated on a large float in the middle of the Amstel River. Amidst rousing 1940s music from the repertoires of famous American big-band leaders Glen Miller and Benny Goodman, Dutch Queen Beatrix - targetted on her birthday on April 30 by an assassination attempt - see video here -- was the centre of attention, watching the concert from a boat in one of the canals. And as she left, the crowd sang the moving Vera Lynn song, "We'll meet again'.
Heavy-rock concert - on 'liberation day:"
The atmosphere at the gigantic, heavy-rock concert organised in Rotterdam was the direct opposite. As the evening progressed, tension grew and fights broke out. There has been a great deal of tension mostly between ethnic-Moroccan youths and Dutch-born youths in this city forming themselves in diametrically-opposed factions. This is also occurring in other Dutch towns over the past decade. Both factions however also are anti-semitic. Here's only one very mild example of a verbal confrontation: but these can often also turn into very quick incidents of violence. see
According to reports in the Algemeen Dagblad newspaper in Rotterdam, a 'hardcore group of Feyenoord supporters, shouting "Rotterdam hooligans' while attacking bystanders, forced the police to intervene, especially after they received reports that a man had been stabbed. Such 'hard-core Feyenoord supporters' often are anti-semitic too - and are heard chant choruses singing 'Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the Gas" (Hamas, Hamas, Joden aan het gas) see However the groups of attackers of the Rotterdam police were shouting "Rotterdam Hooligans'' slogans. So, exactly who the initiators of this unsavoury incident may have been, is now being determined.
Pattern of deliberate entrapment?
There seemed to be a pattern of deliberate entrapment of the police in the Rotterdam incident: while the police were searching through the huge crowd for the allegedly 'stabbed man', the small group of police officers became encircled and were then attacked, pelted with bottles. The degree of threat was such that they fired warning shots into the air, the Dutch news media reported. At this point, the organisers immediately brought the party to an end. No arrests were made. They never found any stabbed man and city hospitals also reported no-one brought in with stabbing injuries.
As the Rotterdam mayor has launched a formal investigation only this week, it's not yet been determined who exactly these youths may have been and what prompted them to disrupt the Liberation Day concert in such a violent manner.
Painful for long-time residents of Rotterdam:
These apparently deliberate disruptions by small, violent groups of youths are particularly painful for the old-time residents of Rotterdam like myself -- who often have remained deeply traumatised by the Nazi occupation from 14 May 1940 to 5 May 1945 throughout our lives.
The entire old city centre, the heart of Holland's trading establishment, was destroyed by Nazi bombardments on 14 May 1940 during their parachute-invasion to occupy the crucial harbour city. The Nazis never bothered to declare war when invading their neighbours Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands simultaneously from that day.Many thousands of people were killed, and maimed, thousands of families made destitute and homeless.
A day of somber commemorative services will be held on 14 May, resided over by mayor Aboutaleb at the exact site where German parliamentarians had issued an order to the city officials to surrender.
Many people in Rotterdam also died during the occupation, from Nazi aggression, including a deliberate campaign of starvation, with its citizens forced to survive under a totalitarian regime that specifically targeted Jews, Christians, Communists, Homosexuals and anyone else that did not wish to submit to their hate-filled ideology. Films will also be screened showing these bombardments and the city's rapid rebuilding after the war. see
That's why these shots which the Rotterdam police were forced to fire to defend themselves against an aggressive crowd -- on the very day which was supposed to celebrate our liberation by the Allied forces in the city of my birth, is particularly painful to me personally. I watched these events with deep pain in my heart. What is happening to my beloved city?
See YouTube Video of Amsterdam liberation day here
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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