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'Chaos, humiliation and discrimination at razzia'

22 September 2008 - All Included has made a detailed reconstruction of a police razzia in Zuidoost last year and has filed a complaint with the National Ombudsman. The organisation is concerned about the uncritical role of the city council.

In the early morning of 16 June 2007, about eighty policemen closed off bar het Vervolg in Zuidoost during a party attended by many immigrants. "We were packed like sardines and had to stand there for hours, no one was even allowed to go to the bathroom", singer Morisadatu from Sierra Leone, who performed at the party, said.

Some people cried; others panicked. Three people, including a pregnant woman, became unwell and one had to be treated in hospital. In the chaos, an ambulanceman was bitten by a police dog and had to be treated as well.

Officially, the objective of the razzia was to put an end to the activities of immigrants suspected of Internet fraud. However, no one has been prosecuted and dozens of immigrants have been deported for being undocumented.

Critics say the police are using immigration laws as an easy way to get rid of people they suspect of criminal activities but have no conclusive evidence against.

According to All Included, three white persons were at the party, and at least two of them were allowed to leave without showing their ID, which amounts to discrimination on the basis of skin colour. The police have admitted to one of these cases (after it had been reported in the media).

Initially, politicians including Judith Sargentini (GroenLinks), Ivar Manuel (D66), Manon van der Garde (PvdA) and even Eric van der Burg of the right-wing VVD criticised the raid. However, after the police published a report justifying the action and Mayor Job Cohen promised that future actions will be executed more carefully, all but Sargentini accepted this.

All Included calls the police report a 'farce' and a political document, written with the objective of linking illegal residence with criminality. For example, the report repeatedly states that immigrants would be using their illegal status as a way to evade the police. All Included points out that it is quite absurd to suggest that being undocumented would be an advantage for criminals.

The organisation says that the political culture is one of 'docility rather than independence and strength'. "Personally I never expected much from politicians, but people in Zuidoost were really disappointed", spokesperson Vincent de Jong says.

All Included and four people who were present at the party have filed complaints with the Ombudsman, who will decide during the next few weeks whether or not to investigate them.

The Ombudsman only investigates complaints if the complainant has first filed a complaint with the institution involved and if the matter has not been dealt with in court. It is conceivable that he will decide to investigate some but not all elements of the het Vervolg complaints.

All Included (in Dutch). Photo taken with mobile telephone by anonymous person at the party (from All Included website)


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