Anti-blackheaded frontman Afriyie: 'We have become target'


Things went hot in The Hague last night. Rioters pelted the building in which the KOZP congress was held with heavy fireworks and threw the windows in. Cars were also destroyed. The police arrested five people, including a boy of 13 years old.

Relief prevails

Afriyie says a day after the incident that he is especially relieved that no injuries have occurred. "The safety of our people is very important," he tells RTL News. "Certainly when they exercise their democratic rights."

"Today we call around to check how everyone is doing." He now knows that everyone came home safely last night. "The people helped each other, even if their car was destroyed. The victims were brought home by someone else. There was enough solidarity among the people."

Criticism of the police

Afriyie wonders if the police should not have acted faster. The proponents of Zwarte Piet had already made a call earlier in the day to disturb the meeting. "It took a little five minutes or more for the police to arrive. That's a lot late, you can do a lot of harm in five minutes. Just look at what happened: windows were smashed, fireworks were thrown in."

The municipality of The Hague says it condemns the violence of the rioters, but does not agree with Afriyie's criticism of the police. According to a spokesperson for mayor Johan Remkes, he "acted well and adequately."

Racist 5 and 6 year olds

The police themselves say they have arrested five people. Declarations have been made and it is being investigated whether they will lead to more arrests.

Among the arrested persons is also a 13-year-old boy. Afriyie is not surprised, he says. "In Eindhoven last year there were 5- and 6-year-olds who cried racist slogans on their parents' shoulders. Now there was one of 13 years old. You throw the life of such a boy that way."

"Politics must act"

Afriyie says to blame politics that this violence has come. "Action needs to be taken now." In that vision, he is supported by Jan Paternotte, member of the Lower House of D66. "As far as I am concerned, the Prime Minister must make it clear that he is distancing himself from this violence and that this kind of extremism of total moths, who disturb a peaceful assembly, does not belong in the Netherlands," he told RTL News.

The Sinterklaas discussion has nothing to do with a children's party at the moment, says Paternotte. "You see more and more often that protesters who want to get rid of Zwarte Piet, or like yesterday, their cars are destroyed. Then he must be prime minister of all Dutch people and show that this violence is not part of it."

"Brutal Violence"

Afriyie also thinks it is no longer about people who are afraid that a children's party will disappear. "This is just brutal violence. We have become target. They know that we do not use violence. It is so difficult to experience that people like this get away with terror. Because that's it, suppose someone was hit by the fireworks "

"I think it is underestimated how radicalized those people are," says Afriyie. According to the KOZP leader, politicians, the police, mayors and everyone involved must 'get a hold of things' to tackle 'this cell'. "Because that's how I see it, this is a cell that is growing."

Grapperhaus: this does not fit

Justice and Security Minister Ferd Grapperhaus does not want to comment on this specific case in front of the camera from RTL News, but he does say in a response that 'freedom of expression in the Netherlands must remain paramount'.

"No one is allowed to take violent action against it. Throwing fireworks can be life-threatening. This definitely does not fit into our society," the minister said.

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