Riots in the Hague between 2 Eritrean groups cause damage


AMSTERDAM, Feb 18: Violent clashes between two groups of Eritreans, in which rioters threw stones, burned police cars and other vehicles, and badly damaged the event building took place in The Hague on Saturday evening, the police said. 

The violence was seen on television. The riot police were called in and used tear gas against the perpetrators.

The mayor declared a state of emergency at the scene of the riots, giving the police more extensive powers.

The number of those injured or arrested was not initially clear, police said.

It was also not initially known what specifically triggered the clash. 

In recent times, there has been violence at meetings of Eritreans in Germany and other countries as supporters and opponents of the dictatorial government in the country in the Horn of Africa have clashed. 

Last summer, 26 police officers were injured during riots at an Eritrea festival in Giessen near Frankfurt in Germany.

Just a few weeks later, 50 people were injured at a festival organised by Eritreans in Stockholm, Sweden. In Tel Aviv, dozens of people were injured in September when a protest by opponents of the Eritrean government against an event at the country’s embassy turned violent.

Eritrea, with a population of around three million, is located in northeast Africa on the Red Sea and is largely isolated internationally.

President Isayas Afewerki has ruled the country since it gained independence around 30 years ago. Political parties are banned, and freedom of expression and press are heavily restricted. There is neither a parliament nor independent courts or civil society organisations.