Protests Over Squatting in Netherlands

October 1, 2010

AMSTERDAM (AP) — More than 100 people protesting the outlawing of squatting at unused buildings in the Netherlands clashed with the police in Amsterdam’s historic center on Friday night, throwing stones, setting fires and erecting barricades.

Police officials said early Saturday that 11 protesters had been arrested, and that two police officers had been injured, along with three police horses and an unknown number of demonstrators. A local television station, AT5, broadcast video of police officers with batons battling squatters in narrow streets and alleys, with the protesters throwing rocks and setting off fireworks.

The station also published a photograph of a young woman bleeding from a head wound being escorted away by a police officer.

Squatting is the latest pillar of the country’s liberal institutions, including legal prostitution and cafes that openly sell marijuana, to be curtailed or abolished.

Public opinion appears in the process of becoming more conservative and the country seems to be rethinking the boundaries of its famed tolerance.

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