The European refugee crisis has been problematic from the beginning, with news from one country after another continuously pouring in about conflicts with the “peaceful” refugees and civil unrest from citizens deeply upset with their leaders’ dangerous decisions.
The Netherlands is the latest country having problems with its plan to accept refugees from the Middle East. Citizens of Geldermalsen, near Utrecht, took to the streets Wednesday night in protest of the small town’s plans to house 1,500 refugees, Reuters reported.
The protests turned into out-of-control riots, with pictures and video footage capturing dozens of young people tearing down fences, throwing bottles and fireworks at police, and chanting slogans about not wanting refugees housed in the town.
Dutch police fired warning shots in an effort to disperse the rowdy crowd, and via their official Twitter account reported that they had “so far made numerous arrests, it is not clear yet how many.”
No serious injuries resulted from the rioting, but members of the town council had to be evacuated by police as the rioters attempted to force their way into the building. The council was meeting to vote on the refugee situation.
National broadcaster NOS reportedly that roughly 2,000 people joined the protest in a town of 27,000, Reuters said.
Watch footage from the riot here:
The incident has been called the biggest display of anti-migrant sentiment in the Netherlands since a Syrian refugee center was attacked in October.
Deputy Justice Minister Klaas Dijkhoff, who oversees immigration and asylum policy, labeled the Geldermalsen riots as “un-Dutch.”
Riots and destruction are never the answers to a community’s problems, and those acts should never be condoned. However, these young people should have their opinions heard, particularly regarding a subject that is so likely to affect their lives.
Their homeland could potentially be in danger, and, based on what we have seen from Middle Eastern refugees in other European countries, I can’t blame them for being upset.
With so many Americans adamantly against the Obama administration’s plan to bring these refugees to our country, extreme protests like this could just as easily happen here. While we should never riot or act like barbarians in response to the situation, we should do everything we can to make our voices heard and protect our communities.
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