(fwd) Eurocop (written by the 'Autonoom Centrum')

radio de Vrije Keyser (keyser@xs4all.nl)
Wed, 25 Jun 1997 16:36:08 GMT


A AA AAAA The A-Infos News Service AA AA AA AA INFOSINFOSINFOS http://www.tao.ca/ainfos/ AAAA AAAA AAAAA AAAAA

On Wed, 25 Jun 1997 16:39:02 +0000, "Autonoom Centrum" <ac@xs4all.nl> wrote:

We would like you to spread this information in your own country among groups that are interested in what happened.

'EU ROT OP': 607 ARRESTS FOR SOME BROKEN FLAG-POLES

On June 16 and 17 Amsterdam was host for a European Summit that should result in the Treaty of Amsterdam. This treaty can be considered to be even a worsening compared to the Maastricht Treaty, and therefor a threat to workers, unemployed, and immigrants inside and outside the EU. Because of this, a very big number of demonstrations was organised. The municipality of Amsterdam wanted to use the opportunity to work on a new image. We must admit the towm succeeded.

Before the summit the police and the mayor of Amsterdam every time again stressed that Amsterdam should show itself as it is: demonstrations and other actions would be tolerated as long as they were held outside the security zones. Strange enough the police seemed very worried about the announcement of the 'Days of Chaos': in an internationally spread pamphlet it was announ- ced that those days (that caused big riots in Hannover, BRD, last year) should be celebrated in Amsterdam in the weekend before the summit. Activists didn't take the announcement very serious, but the police did. The police started an investigati- on to the producers of the pamphlet and started visiting a number of (squatted) houses to warn the occupiers not to give shelter to visitors from outside the Netherlands.=20 >From Friday 13th onward, we have been confronted with police
conducts that were unknown in the Netherlands so far.=20 An overview on four days of police terror:

=46riday 13.06

Although the summit will begin on the 16th of June, protests against it are already heard. The alternative summit has started on Thursday. The police in Den Haag is offering a fortaste of things to come; participants in the Marches that want to travel by train from Den Haag to Leiden are beaten up at the station because they refuse to buy a ticket (in a protest against growing poverty). One person breaks him arm, some other are wounded as well. This Friday the 'Days of Chaos' will start at 18.00. As all expected nothing happens. Only some punks are lying in the sun, drinking beer. They are being watched by a lot of policemen and international press. When those leave, the about 200 punks decide to do the same and start walking in the direction of the Dutch Bank. On their way some flag-poles with summit flags and one window of the French consulate are broken. Police and press react immediately. An enormous amount of riot police and police vans arrive and a lot of people are arrested very roughly. What remains of the group is being chased over town. The police later declares that 17 arrests were made; eyewitnesses say that much more were arrested, probably fifty.

Saturday 14.06

50.000 people demonstrate against poverty, social exclusion and unemployment. The police tries to control the peaceful demon- stration: on the Central Station they seize a red/black flag because 'it is forbidden to be Anarchist during the summit'. The demonstration is so big that the whole centre of town is filled with it. On it's way again flag-poles with summit-flags are being broken. A group of some hundred demonstrators disag- rees with the official route and make a half-hearted attempt to go to the Dutch Bank. The police very easily can prevent this. Just as the group is about to continu the official route, the police tries to arrest someone. A small 'riot' is the conse- quence. Some moments later the windows of a bank at the Leidse- plein are smashed and one police van is pushed over. The police decides that it has been enough: near the head quarters of police they make a square attack on the demonstration, in which they very roughly beat 300 people out of the demonstration. The riot police seems especially interested in the heads of demon- strators. People start throwing with everything they can lay their hands on; also observers start attacking the police. It looks as if the police wants to surround a part of the demon- stration, but for a reason unknown to us they decide not to complete their action. The demonstration therefor goes on to the Dam square, breaking the remaining flag-poles on its way.=20

When the demonstration arrives at the Dam square it turns out that a group of 131 Italians is being held hostage at the Central Station. They were part of a group of 3000 Italians that wanted to join the demonstration. All of them have been prohibited to leave the train. Directly after the demonstartion about most Italians are allowed to leave the train. Almost 200 must stay in the train. They are being held at the station because they are accused of damaging the train that brought them to Amsterdam. After a few hours the group is being hand- cuffed and transferred to a prison in Amsterdam. Near the station people that protest against this are being beaten up by the police. Later that night the Italians are put on the train back to Italy. In this period they got no water or food. In Germay the trains is stopped several times. It later shows that the Dutch and German authorities are putting pressure on Italy to arrest the group after arriving in Italy. The Italian authorities refuse to do so.=20 The reason for the special treatment of the Italians is not clear. Officialy it is said that they damaged the train; on the other hand there are statements by the prosecutor that the police wanted to prevent that the Italians would join the German and Dutch 'autonomous blocks' in the demonstration. The funniest statement by the prosecutor: "If you saw what was coming out of this train, than you know what could have happe- ned".=20

In a television interview later this evening the mayor tells to be very pleased with the demonstration: 'unique in the history of the EU', 'so may people from so many countries', 'a privili- ge for Amsterdam'. On questions about the incidents during the demonstration he answers that compared to the amount of demon- strators nothing really happened; just some broken windows of a bank and one police van pushed over is neglectable, especially compared to what happens in other countries in demonstrations like this. According to the mayor, Amsterdam has shown that it can be host for opponents of the EU as well. Not a word on the treatment of the Italians.

The people that joined the Marches, and who arrived from all over Europe on Friday, were given a hospitable reception by the municipality of Amsterdam. They can shake hands with the mayor on Friday afternoon and get shelter in a school in Amsterdam- west. After the demonstration on Saturday they are tired and want to go to bed. An unpleasant surprise: the municipality has decided that its hospitality will last till Saturday evening. Under the device "your demonstration is over" the marchers are thrown on the street in the middle of the night. A part of them is angry about this treatment and refuses to leave the school. The police beats them out. So far the proverbial Dutch hospita- lity.

Sunday 15.06

Three demonstrations: a streetrave (Legalize!) against the EU drug policy; the Ero summit for sexual diversity; a demonstra- tion at the homo-monument for the rights of lesbians and gays.=20 The route of the Legalize!-demonstration was planned in consul- tation with the police. At the begin of the demonstration the police orders another route. The organisers agree, the 2000 demonstrators don't. They dance their planned route, reminding the police of the words of the mayor: demonstrations outside the security zones will not be obstructed. Police provocations during the streetrave are not answered.=20 The Ero summit and the gay and lesbian demonstration are a big success because of the omnipresent press.

In the morning there already is a high police activity near Vrankrijk, one of the information points for demonstrators against the EU. The streets are almost blocked by police and in front of Vrankrijk the police is filming people with a special video-van. People throw paint at the van to make the filming impossible.=20 In the evening it becomes clear why the police has been fil- ming. People that leave Vrankrijk are arrested and charged on the accusation of being 'member of a criminal organisation' (section 140, Penal law). After 18.00h people who have visited Vrankrijk are arrested all over the centre of town; some of them by a police unit dressed in civil clothes, blindfolding the people they arrested and transporting them in a black Mercedes.=20 At 21.00h a group of 350 people leaves Vrankrijk for a demon- stration at the headquarters of police, to show their solidari- ty with those arrested before. It will be the shortest demon- stration of their lifes: after 20 meters they are surrounded by riot police. The group sits down on the street to wait for what will happen; the police 'cleans' the area around Vrankrijk. Also the press is kept at a big distance. Press that can come closer is obstructed when taking pictures of ill-treatment and other violations by the police. All 350 people are arrested on the charge of 'membership of a criminal organisation' (section 140). Also spectators that protest are arrested as members of the same organisation. It is the biggest mass-arrest since 1966.=20

After the transport of the arrested people the police raises their cordons. New demonstrators and other people that are curious about what happened fill the bar in Vrankrijk: the birth of a second criminal organisation. Again the neighbour- hood is fenced off by the police, and it becomes clear that they are planning a raid on Vrankrijk to arrest all inside. People that leave the bar are arrested, handcuffed and trab- sported as member of a criminal organisation.=20 The arrested people are transported to prisons all over the Netherlands.

In the first comments on the police operation in which 382 people have been arrested, a lot of people show their disbelie- ve on what happened. It is clear that the accusation of mem- bership of a criminal organisation is only meant to keep people from the streets for a few days, till after the summit. It also becomes clear that the operation was planned long before the summit.=20

Monday 16.06

The actual start of the summit. In the centre of Amsterdam the police control is absolute. Vans and riot police are everywhe- re, raid vans are crossing through town and observation units are working overtime. Everywhere people are arrested, arbitrary and only because of their appearance. In 'de Pijp', an area far away from all political activity, 7 people are arrested for 'violation of the prohibition of gathering'.=20 In the afternoon there will be a demonstration against the European migration policy. The organisors mean to go by bicycle to the refugee prison in Amsterdam South East, and pass by the Dutch Bank as near by as possible. On the Heineken square, were the demonstration will start at 16.00h, there is a lot of police ativity at 15.30 pm. Journalists are forced to leave the square, people who are drinking beer on the pavement outside bars are ordered to go inside. All bikes on the square have to be removed. When people start gathering at 16.00h, there is already a lot of police. However, it is still possible for bikers to go into the direction of the Dutch Bank.=20 When the head of the demonstration starts forming (directed towards the bank) suddenly al lot of riot police is out of their vans and prevents the demonstration to leave in the direction it wanted to. Because the riot police is obviously aiming at directing the demonstration of about 800 bikers awy from the centre, the demonstration decides to cycle through the narrow streets near the Heineken square. Because the police can not easily follow the demonstration, the head of the demonstra- tion can reach the bridge near the Dutch Bank. Panic within the omnipresent police force: the head of the demonstration is only 150 meters away from the bank! The police decides to split the demonstration. The back part of the demonstration can not join the 500 people that are on the brifge. After shouting at the bank and the policelines for 15 minutes the splitted groups reunite again in another street. During the demonstration itself nothing happens anymore, due to the route. The chosen route made it almost impossible for the police to follow it with vans.=20 The demonstration at the prison is calm. In a creative way the 1200 demonstrators try to communicate with prisoners (by shooting tennis balls on the inner court, digging a tunnel, climb up the fences with ladders etc). However, the police thinks it is too calm. Just before the planned end of the demonstration the police radio announces the description of a man they want to arrest. The man concerned is warned by others, but he says that he has nothing to fear because he didn't do anything wrong. When the demonstration is ended at 21.00h, suddenly two arrest-units jump on the man and arrest him. A lot of people run to the place where it happens, things are getting out of hand, but just in time people realise that that was the only purpose of the arrest.=20

At 22.00h some hundreds of people gather at the Nieuwmarkt for a demonstration. They want to walk to the hotels where the ministers are staying, and cheer very loudly to thank them for the splendid work they have been doing. It is clear that it will be a demonstration with a very playful character. The organisers begin the demonstration with offering a cake to Chirac. After having delivered the cake at the entrance of the hotel Chirac is staying, the group walks to the next hotel. The jolly march is stopped by the riot police. The demonstration walks back but is soon completely surrounded by police. After 30 minutes it becomes clear that there will be another mass- arrest. Some people can escape using a boat that passes by. On the other side of the water people are visibly disagreeing on the second mass-arrest in two days. They also are about to be surrounded. They can leave just in time, taking (again) some flag-poles. Ten others are arrested on the other side of the water while watching what is happening and transported together with the others.=20 In the meantime the demonstrators keep on cheering, but this time for the police. They applaud for the riot police and civil police. People start collecting money to contribute a little to this money swallowing police operation. When the busses arrive to take arrested people awy a lot of people show their tickets in order to pay for the service. One journalist is also arre- sted, her accreditation is seized. All 143 arrested people are searched and handcuffed with plastic strips. Some of them are told by the police that they have been arrested on .... section 140. They have to sit in the busses, that are not leaving for one hour. When the busses start driving, they take a very special route. After three hours (!) the busses arrive at the prison: a route that can be done in 15 minutes.=20 After having spend several hours on the cold floor, the people who told their name are released. They get a fine of 125 guilders. The arrested people that refused to give their names are released after 6 hours.=20 After their release they cab read in the newspapers that they were involved in riots and that they tried to enter a security zone. The police says that they made this clear by warning the demonstration and charging at it. None of those arrested nor journalist have heard the warnings nor have they seen a police charge. The spokesman of the police later says that the demon- strators violated the restriction in zone 3. When a reporter asks him how one can know that he or she is entering zone 3, because there are no signs indicating this, the spokesman says that zone 3 can easily be recognized because of the amount of policemen one can see. =20 One of the arrested demonstrators is immediately arrested after his release, because he unpacks his belongings from his search- packet. The police officer involved feels provocated by that. He decides to let the man go, but not after fining him with 40 guilders for disturbing public order.

Tuesday 17.06 Trial against the State in order to have the 343 arrested people from Sundaynight released.=20 The judge decides to realease three of the four persons that are proceeding because there is no proof for their individual contribution to the 'criminal organisation' Vrankrijk. The judge declares that the verdict also applies for others in the same position. The Ministry of Justice and the public prosecu- tor have their own interpretation: in the verdict they read that they don't have to release the others because the judge said that mebership should be proved individually. With this argumentation the arrested people are kept in detention till after the summit.=20 In the morning the authorities start deporting the foreigners amongst the ones arrested. Some of them are delivered to the national police (in Germany, Belgium), to avoid long lasting extradiction procedures. Many of them have been deported without getting back their personal belongings that were seized when they were arrested. Passports and money were missing. Some of those persons have again been arrested for not having identity papers. It lasted untill Thursday before it was clear that there were a lot of passports and other things at the headquarters of police. Untill now the police refuses to hand over the passports to the lawyers; the police says that people can come and get them theirselves.=20

In the afternoon there is a planned 'autonomous' demonstration against a capitalist unified Europe, from the Dam square to the theatre Carr,, where the Dutch prime-minister will have a press conference to announce the results of the summit.=20 The authorities decide to take a firm stand. The demonstration, scheduled for two o'clock, is prohibited one hour before. Wit- hout success: 2000 people gather at the Dam square, not only to protest against the unification of Europe, but also against the police brutalities during the summit.=20 The demonstration is guarded by an overwhelming amount of police. Uniformed ('normal') police is aware that the demon- stration has a peaceful character and tries to keep away the riot police, but they fail. At several points the riot police has blocked the streets. When the demonstration wants to enter a 19th century neighbourhood, far from the security zones, it is stopped by the riot police. The uniformed police tries to negociate with the riot police, because the prohibition of a demonstartion so far away from the security zones is ridicu- lous. Without result. The demonstration decides to return to the Dam square where the flower-bed, that was created for the official guests of the summit and that forms the european flag, is complety destroyed by demonstrators. =20

At night there are two smaller actions.=20 At midnight there is a second 'cheer'demonstration. About 100 people go to the house of the mayor to thank him for the creative way he showed his hospitality, by giving shelter to hundreds of opponents to the EU. Policemen on horses try to run over people, around the corner a police force is waiting that outnumbers the demonstration. After one hour the demonstrators go to bed.

Later that night, at around 4.30, the official press conference starts in the heavily guarded theatre Carr,. Ten journalists show their discontent with this Europe by unfolding banners and shouting against the exclusion of environmental issues and human rights in the Amsterdam treaty. Because they do this one after another, it takes 15 minutes before the journalists are arrested and taken away. The arrests are very rough. Funny is the conversation during the action between prime minister Kok abd minister of Foreign Affais van Mierlo. Kok (annoyed and cynical): "Well, this has been very well organised again in here". Van Mierlo (serious): "They could have been armed with handgranates". Of course. Journalists have a reputation for that.=20

Balance

According to police figures, 609 arrests have been made. This number does not include the arrested and deported Italians on Saturday. It also does not include those arrests that were not registered.=20 None of the ones arrested got a summons. The only ones who got a fine are people that were arrested during the 'cheer'demon- stration on Monday. The public prosecutor says he is still considering individual charges. The lawyers are convinced that no-one will be prosecuted.=20 The international press is very surprised on the extreme safety measures. Foreign journalists are angry with the fact that they were kept away from the ministers and from the inhabitants of Amsterdam. It is clear that this has been the most extreme guarded summit in the history of the EC/EU. Even delegates of officials have been complaining abouit the safety measures.

The use of section 140 in this way is without precedent in the Netherlands and, as it seems, without precedent within the EU. Maybe it is a fortaste of what groups of people can expect when Europol advices in the future what to do with events that can be a threat to public order (concerts, demonstrations, sport events). It was used before against political groups, but always after things happened and with a more specific definiti- on of proof and charges. Nevertheless it has of course been used against left groups that could not be prosecuted in other ways. In over 90% of the cases in which it has been used it never came to any conviction, and people were only prosecuted under section 140 because it allows the police to use much more criminal investigation techniques than in prosecutions under other sections. This has been the first time that is has been used to prevent possible disturbing of public order and security. It has become clear that this has been organised very well by police, Justice and Home Affairs. The facts that there were no massive riots, no violent demonstrations and that in fact nothing happened that could possibly justify the move of Justice, confirm the general idea that the arrests on Sunday night were planned before the summit. Also the use of section 140 as legal ground for the arrest must have been discussed within the justice department. It is therefor not only a means to prevent people from exercising their basic rights on demonstrations, but also a means to extend the use of section 140 to groups within society that the state is not very pleased with. The government has been discussing the use of section 140 on groups of foot- ball supporters before.

The council of Amsterdam has discussed what happened during the summit, on Tuesday 24th of June. Only Green Left clearly disapproves of the actions by the police. Most other parties agree, because (as the chairman of the 'social democrats' said) 'it is better to have an investigation to why to police arre- sted innocent people than to have an investigation to the question why half the city was burned'. Also the mayor said that it is good to arrest people that have done nothing wrong if in this way one can prevent riots. The public prosecutor stated that all arrests were legal because it was clear that 'we were not dealing with school children on their way to a silent procession'.=20 The Dutch parliament will discuss the police action on Thursday 26. We don't expect anything to come out. One member of the social democrate party was very critical in an article in their own weekly paper, but later said he was misquoted.=20

'Black'book.

The Autonoom Centrum, the Arrestment Group and Buro Jansen & Janssen decided to publish a 'black'book on what happened. It will be published at the end of June, and will be used to demand an independent investigation into what happened. Untill now 150 complaints have been registered. From the complaints the following shoes in general:

- a lot of arrested demonstrants have been beaten after being handcuffed; - people were not told why they were arrested; - most people (and all foreigners) have been denied access to a lawyer. They should have had one after 6 hours; some only saw their lawyer when the decision to release them had already been made; - female prisoners have all been sexually intimidated or molested;=20 - people did not get water and food for almost 24 hours; - people were detained in tents on the court yards of prison and not given blankets in the first night; - a big group had to wait for six hours in the busses before they could enter the prison, in this period they were handcuf- fed; - most foreigners have been deported without giving them back their personal belongings and documents; - people who take physics were refused their medicine.

Meanwhile, the lawyers are preparing new proceedings to get compensation for their clients. They expect that people will get about 400 or 500 guilders for every day they were impriso- ned, because their arrest was illegal. This could cost the ministry about 200.000 guilders. Peanuts, compared to the 70 million it needed to organise the summit in Amsterdam.=20

The total repressive way the Dutch government decided to treat all demonstrations lead to the remark on national television by a professor Penal Law at the University of Amsterdam that, overviewing all that happened, he could only see one criminal organisation. It is formed by the mayor, the public prosecutor and the head of police, who have structuraly been working for some months on organising the deliberate and illegal arrest of demonstrators and passers-by who didn't do anything.=20

Actions outside the Netherlands

Also in other EU-countries people reacted on the police vio- lence in Amsterdam. In Copenhagen 17 people were arrested who, according to thepolice, planned to attack theDutch consulate. Dutch consulates were attacked in Stockholm,London, Brighton, Milan, Gent and Rome. In Hamburg and Vienna the consulate was occupied for some time.

In Denmark the issue has been raised in parliament by the- Red-Green Alliance. They complain about the treatment of 29 Danes that were arrested in Amsterdam 12 of them were send back by military plane, escorted by a Dutch fighterbomber the first part of the way. Nodoubt just for training, but what a scene. Also a lot of Danes were deported without their belongings. They can not pick them up themselves because the police told them they will not be allowed to enter the Netherlands for some time. The Danish consul in Amsterdam was furious because she was not allowed to visit the arrested Danes. The Red Green Alliance wants to know from the government if danish authori- ties gave information to Europol, Interpol or dutch authori- ties, what exactly the role of Europol has been in this case, and what will happen to the fingerprints and photgraphs that have been made.=20

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