Fifty demonstrators were arrested at the Eritrean conference in Veldhoven. The police used two city buses to transport the detainees. The conference at Koningshof has now been prohibited by the mayor.
A diplomat from Eritrea was to come and address invited guests at the NH Hotel in Koningshof. Mayor Mikkers said earlier that he felt uncomfortable with this. The African country has a dictator and had very different norms and values than the Netherlands.
The mayor of Veldhoven could only intervene if public safety was being threatened as it was, indeed, a private gathering.
Kubrom Dafla Hosabay, Eritrea’s previous Minister van Finance van Eritrea, who had fled the country, called on those opposed to the dictator to come and protest. About 50 people responded and blocked the entrance of the hotel where the conference was being held.
When Solomon Mehari, the Eritrean delegate arrived, the demonstrators rushed his car. He immediatly left.
They then seemed to return to Koningshof, but at 7:15 pm, the demonstration got out of control again. The demonstrators were stopped at the entrance of the hotel as other speakers arrived.
When the police told everyone to leave half an hour later, the protesters paid them no heed. It was then decided to arrest the demonstrators. Some of them were already fighting amongst themselves. In the meantime, a large number of police officers were called to Veldhoven.
The police commandeered two city buses to transport the detainees. The bus passengers had to get off the bus and stay behind. The 50 detainees were taken to the police station. The mayor then decided to ban the three-day conference.
Photo: SQ Vision – Rico Vogels