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New Yearís eve incidents fewer than previous years

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

AMSTERDAM - New Yearís Eve revelry by boisterous teenagers and young adults who in previous such events have caused much vandalism, even endangering the public, were back at it again on December 31, but in smaller numbers and in fewer places it seems. This year, the now traditional bonfires, usually built on public roads, were fewer in number as well but still a concern to authorities. Units of the riot police, called Mobiele Eenheden (ME), rushed to various places where revelers failed to disperse when ordered to do so. In one such incident two policemen sustained injuries and were sent to a hospital for treatment. Dozens of troublemakers were arrested and jailed. Most of them were already sentenced by a special court set up for supersnelrecht, on January 2 and 5. They were given no-nonsense sentences for interfering with the work of emergency workers and the police. Other troublemakers face snelrecht for less serious charges later this month. Insurers have so far also reported fewer claims. Whether the debate over stiffer penalties may have had an effect on revelers, is hard to tell at this point. In notably The Hague, Rotterdam and Amsterdam large crowds turned out to ring in the New Year.