'Dam screamer' who sparked mass panic at memorial service jailed for six months

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A man who sparked chaos at Amsterdam’s Remembrance Day ceremony by screaming during the moment of silence has been sent to prison for six months.

Eighty-seven people were wounded in the panic that ensued after the 40-year-old man let out a bloodcurdling scream at the national memorial in Dam Square on May 4 last year.

Thousands of people, including Queen Beatrix, attend the annual ceremony to commemorate all the casualties of war and peacekeeping missions since 1940.

The court in Amsterdam acceded to prosecutors’ requests to sentence the man, known as Gennaro P under Dutch anonymity rules, to six months in jail and a further six months probation.

It ruled that there was a clear connection between P’s scream and the injuries that people suffered in the immediate aftermath.

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

P was not present to hear the verdict on Thursday, but told Amsterdam TV station AT5 that he would appeal if the court imposed the sentence demanded by the prosecution.

The court also banned him from attending the memorial ceremony for the next five years.

In interviews with other media P has showed scant remorse for his actions. He said: “If I’m not allowed to scream then we ought to abolish May 5 [Liberation Day]. We live in a free country.”

Source: NRC: Damschreeuwer gaat zes maanden de cel in
Photo by Andrea Bandelli

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

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