Twelve-month prison sentence demanded for man who triggered Remembrance Day stampede

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Prosecutors are demanding a 12-month jail sentence for a man who sparked panic by shouting out during the annual Remembrance Day ceremony in 2010.

The 39-year-old, named as Gennaro P under Dutch anonymity laws, is accused of causing injury and disruption by emitting a loud scream at the national memorial in Dam Square, Amsterdam, where thousands of people, including Queen Beatrix, gather on May 4 each year.

Eight of the victims have launched compensation claims for broken bones and psychological damage.

Public prosecutor Otto de Bijl told a court hearing in Amsterdam that P should serve a 12-month sentence, six months of which would be on probation. He also asked the court to ban the accused from attending Dam Square on May 4.

P, who was not present in court, is also accused of shoplifting and vandalism. He is known to the police as a serial offender.

His lawyer, Theo Hiddema, said P suffered from mood swings. He told police after his arrest that he did not feel responsible for the injuries caused, saying: “A scream never broke any bones.”

P is reported to have told an eyewitness: "I hope the Queen will be murdered tonight", but he is not charged with plotting to kill the monarch.

The annual memorial ceremony takes place on May 4, the eve of the liberation of the Netherlands from German occupation in 1945, in honour of all the casualties of war and peacetime operations since 1940.

Source: NRC: OM eist 12 maanden cel tegen Damschreeuwer
Photo by Andrea Bandelli

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