Police and the mayor of a sleepy Dutch town “failed” in their handling of a riot triggered when thousands attended a party after receiving a Facebook invitation meant to be private, a probe found on Friday.
About 4,000 revelers descended onto the northern town of Haren in September after a local girl accidentally posted a public invitation for her 16th birthday party on the social network.
The soiree descended into chaos, with partygoers pelting police officers with rocks, bottles, flower pots and even bicycles, shops looted and chairs set on fire throughout the night.
“Right from the start authorities had no grip on the problem, there was no clear strategy to deal with it and what they did was insufficient,” said Job Cohen, who chaired a five-person commission to investigate the so-called “Project X” riots.
Haren Mayor Rob Bats “did not make proper use of his competency to use all means at his disposal” to control the rampaging youths, many of whom traveled by train to converge on the quiet neighborhood, he added.
“If this was a test for the police, you would have to come to the conclusion that they failed,” Cohen said.
By the end of the night of violence, at least 29 people had been hurt — including three officers — 108 were subsequently arrested and damages ran into hundreds of thousands of euros.
Images of bonfires and blood streaming from the heads of youths after running battles with riot police shocked the Netherlands, better known for its tolerance and non-violent culture.
Youths had started arriving in Haren early in the afternoon, many of them carrying alcohol and some drugs, Cohen said.
Officials had prepared for trouble by blocking access to the girl’s street, banning alcohol consumption near her home and having the teenager herself quit the premises.
However, riot police had to intervene when a couple of hundred drunken youths tried to get into the street.
After pelting the police with missiles as they tried to force their way into the street, groups of rioters moved on to the center of the town, where they wrecked cars, fencing, street lamps and signs.
Some of the partygoers wore T-shirts bearing the words “Project X Haren,” an allusion to last year’s US teen film Project X — about a suburban birthday party that gets out of control after an invitation goes viral.
MORE RESOURCES: The prime minister announced an extra A$1.1bn in health-related spending, of which A$150m would be spent on domestic violence support services Australia yesterday announced a nearly US$100 million boost in funding to tackle domestic violence after support services reported a spike in coronavirus-related family abuse. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said there had been a 75 percent surge in Google searches for help during the ongoing nationwide shutdown of non-essential services to curb the spread of COVID-19. Women’s Safety, a domestic violence charity in Australia’s most populous New South Wales state, has reported that more than 40 percent of workers had seen an increase in client numbers, with more than one-third of cases directly linked to the virus outbreak. In neighboring Victoria, women’s support
Sixty-four migrants from Ethiopia were found dead on Tuesday, crammed inside a freight container in northwestern Mozambique, a senior hospital official said. The victims were discovered in a blue cargo container loaded on a truck. They were surrounded by survivors in temperatures of about 34°C. “A truck transporting illegal immigrants from Malawi, suspected to be Ethiopians, was stopped at the Mussacana weight bridge in Tete [Province] and 64 people were found dead. Only 14 survived,” said the official, who asked not be named as he did not have the authority to speak to the media. “The cause of death is presumed to
OUTCRY: Benny Gantz’s allies accused him of surrendering ‘without a fight’ as he pushed for an alliance with the indicted Israeli prime minister Israel’s Benny Gantz on Thursday called for an emergency unity government after being elected parliamentary speaker, surprise developments that point towards an interim alliance with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to tackle the COVID-19 crisis. Gantz’s moves appeared to offer Netanyahu, indicted on corruption charges, a path to extend his 11-year tenure, although no agreement had been declared and the shifting political landscape was causing significant fallout within the anti-Netanyahu bloc. Gantz ally Yair Lapid, who broke with the ex-military chief earlier on Thursday, accused him of surrendering “without a fight,” declaring the breakup of the Blue and White alliance that Gantz had
Canada opposes a plan by the US to send troops to its northern frontier to catch border jumpers who might be carrying COVID-19, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Thursday. Trudeau and Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland were responding to a Global News report that said White House officials were discussing such a military deployment to the recently closed border, the world’s longest at 8,900km. Amid the pandemic it was temporarily shut as of Saturday to all non-essential travelers on both sides, but not cross-border trade. “Canada and the United States have the longest unmilitarized border in the world. And it