Students demonstrate against police violence during the ending of an illegal house party

Students demonstrate against police violence during the ending of an illegal house party

Police alleged to have been unjustifiably violent and aggressive

15-02-2023 · News

MAASTRICHT. About a hundred students gathered together in front of the police station in Maastricht in a demonstration against ‘police violence’ on Tuesday evening. The reason is the police taking hold of and pushing away people and using truncheons, last weekend during the ending of an illegal house party. This was alleged to have been excessive and unjustified, the demonstrators said.

In short video clips, which were shared frequently on social media the past few days, it can be seen how policemen break up a group of students on the street by waving truncheons and pushing bicycles. Two students – inhabitants of the building that had just been vacated – were roughly pushed back into their house.

The footage was made during the evacuation of a student house on the Zakstraat on the night of Saturday and early Sunday morning. After various reports of noise hinderance, police officers found “a group of more than a hundred people in a much too small, vaulted basement,” the police reports on their own website. An “extremely dangerous situation,” was their judgement, fire safety was not guaranteed. Partygoers were “escorted” out and summoned to leave the street. A number of them did not do as they were told, but aggressively entered into a discussion and returned to the building. The police carried out a charge, during which a 19-year-old woman was arrested because of public drunkenness and failure to obey orders.

Police explanation

A police spokesperson confirms the use of force on the street, but emphasises that instructions were given several times in different languages and that they had threatened that force would be used. None of this can be seen on the video clips. “As a result, the idea emerged that the police applied force just like that. That is not the case.”

The four international students who organised the party, also the inhabitants of the building, say that the explanation given by the police is incorrect. For example, there were not a hundred, but a maximum of thirty people present when the police arrived. “It was a birthday party, with just good friends. The number of a hundred is absurd; that many people couldn’t even fit into that basement. Besides, several neighbours said that they were not disturbed by noise, or only during the police evacuation.”

Huge pupils

In addition, force was not just used outside on the street, but already in the building. Without prior warning. “Suddenly, the police were inside, without our permission to enter. How they got in, we don’t know. An announcement followed that everyone was to leave, after which policemen immediately started to forcefully push and pull. Some were very aggressive, with huge pupils, and shouted constantly. They didn’t give any or very unclear explanation why they were doing this.” Visitors waited outside because they were worried about those inside. “A number of them spoke to the police about this, after which someone was forced to the ground. A girl who wanted to help her get up, was arrested.”

The inhabitants say that they have considerable bruises, just like a few others who were present. But it is also tough mentally, says one of them emotionally. “Our trust in the police has suffered a huge blow. Because of this incident but also because the facts are being twisted. In addition, we are shocked at how some people from Maastricht are normalising the police violence. On social media, they have sketched an image of drunken, misbehaving students. Some people are making us out to be rats and parasites. Or say that we deserved this. While we were not looking for trouble at all. We were not the ones being aggressive, it was the police.” Possibly it is because of the bad reputation of the house, where previous residents held lots of parties, they say. “But all of us have only being living here for a few weeks, so we have nothing to do with that.”

Sometime this week, after they have received a medical certificate about their injuries, they will file a report against the policemen in question. In addition, the police spokesman let it be known that officers always record the use of force, after which it is "weighed by and discussed with the assistant district attorney."

Dennis Vaendel

Due to the many negative comments on social media, the four organisers of the party want to remain anonymous.

Photo: Joey Roberts

Tags: police violence,police,students,house party,demonstration,maastricht,instagram

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