This content is not available in your region

Dutch squatting protest ends in violence

Dutch squatting protest ends in violence
Text size Aa Aa

A protest in Amsterdam against the outlawing of squatting in unused buildings ended in clashes between police and demonstrators.

Several hundred people had rallied peacefully during the day against the law that makes their way of life punishable by up to a year in prison.

Squatting is the latest symbol of the Netherlands’ liberal traditions to be abolished or restricted, following legal prostitution and cafes selling marijuana.

Many have vowed to resist the changes.

As night fell some protesters threw rocks at police and vandalised cars; police charged to try to disperse the crowd.

Later they used bulldozers and water cannon to clear the streets.

It’s thought that around 1500 people are squatting in about 200 premises in Amsterdam.

The practice gained much sympathy amid severe post-war housing shortages. Now many squatters are said to come from eastern and southern Europe.

Over the past decade the council has been stepping up evictions.