Oleg BurunovAll materialsWrite to the authorLast month, about 15,000 people gathered in the Dutch capital Amsterdam to demand an end to the housing crisis in their city. Violent clashes between police and protesters have broken out in the Dutch city of Rotterdam over the government’s housing policy, rising rental prices, and a shortage of affordable housing.Multiple videos of the clashes have emerged online, with one clip showing police hitting protesters with batons and other footage capturing the crackdown on demonstrators near the Erasmus bridge in Rotterdam. In one more video, protesters are seen running for safety as police advance on them.
The clashes broke out on Sunday as more than 7,000 people reportedly took to the streets in Rotterdam to take part in a rally called Woonopstand.
According to local media, police arrested at least 50 people for incitement, insult, and illegal weapon possession during the rally, which was held under the motto “Houses for people, not profit”.
The demonstration came about a month after at least 15,000 protesters rallied in the Dutch capital Amsterdam to demand guarantees on the availability and affordability of housing as well as lower rents and a ban on temporary rental contracts.
Dutch Anti-Racism Activists Deface Statues, Art Center in Rotterdam – Reports12 June 2020, 16:11 GMTOrganisers earlier said that with house prices continuing to soar, action is needed to end the crisis and tackle the serious shortage of affordable rental accommodation and long waiting lists for social housing.
“People are now realising that is not their fault if they cannot find a home or pay for one. They are the victims of years of neo-liberal policy”, organiser Sander van der Kraan was cited by DutchNews as saying.
Gert Jan Bakker, a consultant at the WOON tenant support agency in Amsterdam, for his part told The Financial Times that the “biggest problem” pertains to young people, “but young now means 30-year-olds, who still cannot rent or buy something”.
“Families are leaving the city. People who teach our children, policemen and tram drivers — they simply can’t afford to live here”, he added, pointing the finger at the government for its housing policy, which he said had resulted in the weakening of the Dutch rent protection system, among other things.