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Irritation may have played role in arrest of activist

12 September 2008 - A week ago, police arrested Joke Kaviaar when she was handing out flyers. Irritation on both parts may have played a role, a police spokesperson says. Kaviaar insists that the arrest was unjustified.

Last Friday, Kaviaar was arrested while handing out flyers in front of the Randstad temp agency, to protest against the recruitment of prison guards for a deportation centre.

It is perfectly legal to hand out flyers with a political message. However, an environmental policewoman suspected her of violating the police byelaw, which prohibits distributing commercial flyers without a permit, a police spokesperson says.

He suggests the policewoman may have been irritated because she thought the flyers would litter the street, whereas Kaviaar may have been irritated because she thought her right of demonstration was being violated.

Subsequently, the situation would have escalated quickly. Kaviaar would have tried to walk away, the policewoman would have grasped her and the resulting struggle would have amounted to recalcitrance and have been a ground to arrest her.

At the police station, Kaviaar would have been given an opportunity to explain the situation. "Had she collaborated and shown her ID, she might have been on the street within an hour". Since the police had to assess her identity, she was not released until the next day. "It's really a pity, for things might have gone differently".

Kaviaar says the police explanation is ludicrous. It would amount to her being arrested for resisting an arrest, while there was no reason to arrest her in the first place.

She also contests that the police would have needed as much time to assess her identity. They would not have taken her photograph and fingerprints until 9 am the next morning, and one of the policemen would have told her that running the fingerprints through the computer only takes 30 seconds.

The Public Prosecutor will decide whether Kaviaar will be prosecuted.


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