Anger over detention of squatters in immigration centres

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A row over the treatment of squatters in Amsterdam is intensifying after 17 demonstrators were arrested during a protest at the weekend.

Police have been accused of playing a ‘cat and mouse’ game with the squatters during a long-running campaign that began when a squat known as Schijnheilig, on Passerdersgracht was raided in July.

Tens of squatters were arrested and thrown into immigrant detention centres, even though most were Dutch nationals.

The squatters were then told they could only leave if they gave their name or provided evidence of identity.

However, the practice breached new European rules against arbitrary detention. Last month a judge ruled that two squatters who had refused to disclose their identity could no longer be held in the detention centre and awarded them compensation.

The European rules state that people can only be held in immigration centres if they have been ordered to leave the country.

Their lawyer, Corrien Ullersma, said police and officials were playing a 'game' with the squatters to pressurise them into revealing their identities.

On Wednesday three anonymous squatters who were arrested in Amsterdam at the weekend were being held in an immigration detention centre, pending an appearance in court on Thursday.

They were initially freed by an investigating judge, only to be re-arrested as soon as they set foot outside the detention centre for wearing facial coverings.

The trio were among a group of demonstrators who were stopped by police on their way to a squatters’ protest on the Spui, in the centre of Amsterdam. Police said they were stopped on the Spuistraat because they had deviated from the official route.

However, on Thursday TV station AT5 claimed it had seen pictures which showed the police giving permission for the demonstrators to march from their squat at Vrankrijk along the Spuistraat to the Spui.

Internet TV station is due to publish the pictures on its website on Monday as part of a longer report on the demonstration.

Source: Het Parool: Steekspel tussen justitie en krakers
Photo by Roy Benjamin Coert

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