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No political response to razzia report

27 September 2008 - The organisation All Included recently published a critical report on a large-scale police raid of a party in Zuidoost last year and has filed a complaint with the national Ombudsman. Council members say they will not take action in response to the report.

GroenLinks and D66 remain critical of the raid, but say that there is little they can do. VVD and to a lesser extent the PvdA say that they are satisfied that the raid was justified. "We believe the police and that's it", says Eric van der Burg (VVD).

The raid formally targeted people suspected of Internet fraud. While dozens of people were arrested, none was brought to court. Instead, people without papers were deported. Critics say the police are abusing immigration laws as an easy way to get rid of people against whom they have no conclusive evidence.

Further, the police would have discriminated by checking only the IDs of African people and not those of Dutch and Surinamese people present at the party.

Initially, almost all parties responded critically to the raid, but when the police published a report finding that the raid was justified and Mayor Job Cohen promised that future actions would be executed more carefully, all but Judith Sargentini (GroenLinks) would have accepted this.

All Included said that people in Zuidoost were disappointed in the uncritical stance of most politicians.

In a response, Ivar Manuel (D66) says that his party is all but uncritical. "I was incensed at the raid and the racist way in which it was executed, and I still am. I was the first to call it a 'razzia', something Cohen was very upset about. Also, I think it's ridiculous to have the police write a report about their own raid; you know in advance that their conclusion will be that the raid was justified".

However, he says that there is little he can do as a council member. "Cohen always pretends to be responsive to the council's wishes, but when all's said and done, he does as he pleases. Things might be different if we had an elected mayor".

Frank de Wolf (PvdA) says that the All Included report does not add much to what was already known. He appreciates that the raid must have been a fearful and overwhelming experience for those involved, but says that the PvdA has to balance their interests with those of other residents.

"Zuidoost has shown strong and good development over the past years; we can't have criminal groups threatening that, as difficult as it can sometimes be to deal with criminal activities". De Wolf accepts the police explanation that it would be too difficult to prosecute fraud suspects.

VVD party leader Van der Burg, who was critical of the raid at first, says that he is convinced of the good intentions of the police and that he has no doubts whatsoever as to the police report. He has not yet read the All Included report, but "I don't think that it will lead to another conclusion".

See also: Chaos, humiliation and discrimination at razzia. Photo taken with mobile telephone by anonymous person at the party (from All Included website)


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