We thank all protestors for their presence at the demonstration today in Rotterdam. We gathered on Sunday October 17th to stand up for our right to housing, but we were welcomed by reprehensible police brutality.
The demonstration in the Afrikaanderpark happened in a good atmosphere. After a joyful program with speakers and music, we left the park for the Erasmusbrug bridge [in a march towards Markthal]. There the march came to a halt as a group of protesters was separated [and surrounded] from the rest of the demonstration by the riot police.
We do not accept this divide and rule tactic of the police and the riot police. On several occasions the front of the demonstration was separated from the rest of the group. At those moments we decided to stop the march and emphasized several times that we only wanted to continue as one demonstration, as one movement, but each time part of the demonstration was held back by the riot police.
We have received stories and images from various sides of absurd, reprehensible and violent action by the police and the riot police, such as beating hard with batons and charges with horses. At least six people ended up in the emergency room. On the Erasmus Bridge, tram 25 was stopped by the police / riot police from which all passengers, including a man with his walker, had to get off, so that people could be removed by the riot police. Shortly afterwards, most of the people were quickly released, suggesting that there was no reason to arrest them, let alone the police brutality.
We strongly condemn the police's attempt to criminalise and divide our movement. It was the police who decided to escalate, wrongly incriminate and arrest a large proportion of our fellow protesters for wearing black clothes. Under the watchful eye of Mayor Aboutaleb, there has been an unnecessary escalation and we call on politicians to take a stand against this.
The housing action continues!
Update October 19: It is now known that not two, but at least six people ended up in the emergency room. The message has therefore been amended.