Riots in The Hague: Tear gas used to quell disturbance among Eritrean groups

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In a startling turn of events, The Hague witnessed a significant outbreak of violence on Saturday evening, centered around the Opera conference hall on Fruitweg. The disturbance began as a brawl between two groups of Eritreans, rapidly escalating into a riot. Authorities were forced to deploy tear gas in an effort to control the situation, which saw a police car set ablaze near the scene. The cause of the confrontation remains unclear, as rioters attacked police with rocks, bicycles, and traffic signs, according to reports from Omroep West.

The violence led to the windows of the Opera conference center being smashed, as rioters attempted to breach the building. In response, police and riot squads took decisive action to protect the premises and disperse the crowd, employing police vans to drive people away. The situation necessitated the escalation to a Grip 2 regional emergency, indicating a serious incident requiring coordinated response from all first responders under a unified command.

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Mayor Jan van Zanen of The Hague granted police the authority to use tear gas following the outbreak of violence, as confirmed by a police spokesperson. An emergency order was also issued for the area surrounding Fruitweg, empowering police to stop, screen, and potentially expel individuals within a 500-meter radius of the conference center. This decisive action aimed to restore order and prevent further escalation of violence.

The Hague Authorities Issue Emergency Order Following Eritrean Community Clash

The Hague Authorities Issue Emergency Order Following Eritrean Community Clash

The disturbances prompted adjustments to local transportation, with tram 11 and bus 26 rerouted on police orders. However, calm was eventually restored to the Fruitweg area. The unrest had erupted during an event for the Eritrean community, marking a belated New Year’s celebration. Inside, attendees were reportedly enjoying a peaceful party, oblivious to the chaos unfolding outside.

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The confrontation is believed to have stemmed from tensions between supporters of the Eritrean government and opponents, with allegations that the rioters were not Eritrean but Ethiopian, expressing their anger over recent conflicts in the Tigray region. The violence resulted in injuries to several police and tactical officers, damage to police and private vehicles, and a fire within the conference center itself.

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The riot in The Hague underscores the profound impact of diaspora politics on local communities abroad. The escalation of violence at a cultural event highlights the need for enhanced dialogue and understanding among diverse groups. As The Hague recovers from the unrest, the incident serves as a stark reminder of the challenges facing cities in managing tensions within international communities.

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