‘Protestors’ trash city centre

Photo credit: Remco Vanderweel

“We’re disgusted,” is how the police, Municipality, and Public Prosecutors Office reacted to yesterday’s riot in the Eindhoven City Centre.

Hundred of rampaging protestors took to the streets near Eindhoven Central Station yesterday. These thugs did so under the guise of an anti-COVID-19 regulations protest. This protest was officially cancelled and banned.

The organiser, however, invited people to go and ‘drink a cup of coffee’ on 18 September Plein. Despite repeated warnings to leave the area, a large group continued to clash with the police. They threw stones, fireworks, gold balls, and even bicycles.

Fires set

The ‘protestors’ set bicycles alight. Photo credit: Poorni Mohan.

Shop windows were smashed, and the Jumbo at the station was looted. Bicycles and a ProRail car were set alight. The police arrested more than 60 people. The Public Prosecutor’s Office will be launching a criminal investigation.

Those who were arrested can be sure they’ll be facing stiff penalties. “This had nothing to do with freedom of expression,” says the Public Prosecutor’s Office’s press liaison, Janine Kramer. “It was simply criminal behaviour.”

“They crossed all boundaries,” the Eindhoven City Council says in a press release. “It wasn’t a question of demonstrating. The objective, from the start, was violence against the police.”

More arrests immenent

The police have arrested 62 people, so far. The youngest is only 14. By this morning, about half of them were still in custody. But there were far more rioters than this. Most were in their teens and twenties, and many came from other parts of the province.

The police hope to also apprehend this group. “Thanks to clear video footage, among other things, we have many of the rioters on camera,” says Eindhoven Police District Chief Peter van Pelt. “We’re going to make full use of this.”

There was a heavy police presence on 18 September Plein yesterday. Video credit: Poorni Mohan.

“It’s great that there’s lots of camera footage,” says Janine. “We’re going to try as recover as much of the damage as we can from these rioters. This cannot remain without consequences.”

Lots of destruction

Shop owners in the area were aghast at the wreckage they faced this morning. At d’n Hertog, for example, Manager Linda found a completely destroyed terrace. “They tore off the parasols and burnt them, demolished the bins, and destroyed the flower boxes.”

The windows at Eindhoven Central Station were extensively damaged. Photo credit: Coffeelab Facebook page

The Coffeelab in the station building has also been badly hit. Most of the restaurant’s windows have been smashed. The NS announces that the repair work will take at least two months. The windows must be specially made.

Manager, Jeroen Veldkamp, is angry. “I think it is particularly sad for all those businesses in our city who are having such a hard time as it is. It’s almost surreal – hiding behind a mouth mask and a hood and carrying on like that.”

“I simply have no words,” says Eindhoven’s Mayor, John Jorritsma. “This is just a big middle finger to everyone who’s trying to keep [everyone in] our country safe and healthy. And the worst thing is, they’re probably proud of it too.”

Sources: Eindhoven City Council and Studio040

Translator: Melinda Walraven

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