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Anger and shame after protest against Afghans reception: ‘Really terrible’

250 people stood in front of the gate of the Harskamp army camp yesterday. Loud music was played and a pile of car tires caught fire. “This does not fit into our culture,” he said. And ‘Auschwitz open for blacks’.

Mayor René Verhulst of Ede, who Harskamp falls under, is angry and sad about the events. He calls on parents to keep their children off the streets at night and to explain at home what it means to be a war victim. “Young people need to know what these people have already been through.”

Red Cross flooded with stuff

The contrast is great. Out of compassion, the Red Cross is meanwhile inundated with items that people who want to donate to the refugee Afghans who have had to leave home and hearth.

What possesses the young people in Harskamp? Gerbrand van Hoef is ashamed of his peers. The 19-year-old chairman of the youth department of the SGP in Ede distanced himself from the events in a tweet yesterday:

“This can’t be,” he says on the phone. He finds it appalling and tries to explain the behavior. “I think a lot of people don’t know that it’s about emergency shelter.” According to him, there is also a wrong image about refugees, that they are given priority over all kinds of things.

“I think a lot of young people joined because they didn’t have much to do and joined the protest.” Another factor, he thinks, is that the residents were taken by surprise by the decision that 800 Afghans will be accommodated in their village in the near future. “It was all very unexpected.”

Young age ‘striking’

Léonie de Jonge conducts research for the University of Groningen into extreme right-wing politics and the radical right. She thinks the young age of the protesters is ‘remarkable’, but that protests against the arrival of asylum seekers are ‘not surprising’. According to her, a culture has been created in recent years that has ensured that extreme right-wing expressions have become more normal.

“Sounds like this are made continuously, from the heart of our democracy. There are four parties that immediately jump on the barricades when it comes to refugees. They say: we must keep the borders closed. There is talk of ‘a wave of refugees’.” , that is an example of dehumanization. These parties therefore give legitimacy to these kinds of actions.”

‘Hard to say’

It is not entirely clear to De Jonge what exactly motivates these young people. “That’s why it’s important that research is done on this. It’s a bit difficult to say.”

SGP youngster Van Hoef suspects that it is not so much about refugees, but that it is an outburst of anger about other matters such as the corona measures or the rules that farmers must comply with.

According to researcher De Jonge, it is indeed possible that there is a ‘breeding ground for anger’, anger about all kinds of things. “It could also be that some really protest for ideological reasons, while others go with friends. It’s difficult, a lot comes together here.”

Not again

The mayor of Ede is fed up with these kinds of scenes. “We are going to do everything we can to make sure it doesn’t happen again and we are using all available resources to make it happen.”

Demonstration at Harskamp ‘serious, reprehensible and heartless’

Outgoing State Secretary Ankie Broekers-Knol thinks it is ‘very unfortunate and sad’ that things got so out of hand. She emphasizes the right of everyone to demonstrate, but also says that the security concerns are unfounded in her opinion.

“Serious and reprehensible”, said outgoing minister Ank Bijleveld (Defence) about the protest. “If you are in need, you also want to be taken care of,” she said to the demonstrators. “I hope they realize that.”

Outgoing minister Sigrid Kaag (Foreign Affairs) called the demonstrations ‘heartless’, but says that the generous and understanding reactions from the Netherlands are louder.

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