The police said earlier that only Pegida protesters had been arrested, but now acknowledge that a mistake was made.
After being in jail for a few hours, an ANP journalist was allowed to leave. Earlier it became clear that his wife was also wrongfully arrested. She is also an ANP correspondent.
The two, along with several Pegida demonstrators, were rushed away in police vans. This happened despite them showing their press cards. Rob van Rooijen, ANP’s chief editor, says that there has since been contact with the police. “Another conversation with the ANP will follow,” he says.
The police posted a notification on social media, saying the arrest was unjustified. On Twitter, it says, “In our eyes, their behaviour with the Pegida supporters was suspicious.” But also, “The two were released around 17:00, of course with our sincere apologies.”
“Stone throwers not picked up”
Among the police tweets, there is a strong response, “How can this happen if the journalist shows the police a press card? A card that is recognised by the Dutch ministries? Why did it take hours to verify that they were indeed journalists? Sometimes ‘heartfelt apologies’ are not enough.”
Twitter followers also wonder why no young people were arrested: “Did you accidentally forget to take the stone throwers into custody?”
Police spokesperson, Els Reijnders, says: “We heard that stones were thrown, but we were not able to ascertain this.” The police did see eggs flying through the air, but it was not clear who exactly threw them. So nobody could be arrested for that either.
Stones and eggs
The anti-Islamic organisation handed out flyers on Saturday afternoon in the surroundings of the Al-Fourqaan mosque, without permission. At around 14:00, things got of hand in Frankrijkstraat, a few hundred meters from the mosque.
A large group of Muslim youths was also on the move, out of dissatisfaction with the Pegida campaign. The youngsters threw a few bricks, followed by a rain of eggs.
Mayor Jorritsma ordered an end to this flyer campaign. This was done because all demonstrations that Pegida holds at or near the mosque are forbidden. The police first ordered the demonstrators to leave. This did not happen, upon which twelve Pegida supporters were arrested.
A new chapter will be written in the Pegida story today (Monday). The anti-Islamic group has permission to demonstrate on Stadhuisplein between 7:30 and 15:30. It is unclear whether Pegida went ahead with this. Previously, the movement indicated that it only wanted to demonstrate at the mosque.
Source: Omroep Brabant
Editor: Melinda Walraven