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Police break up asylum seekers camp

Thursday, May 24, 2012

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Police have used force to dismantle a tent camp of failed asylum seekers in the northern Dutch town of Ter Apel.

About 20 minibuses carrying officers arrived at the site around 4pm. Riot police pulled down tents and surrounded a group of Iranian and Somali failed asylum seekers who refused to leave. The atmosphere which earlier in the day had been peaceful quickly became confrontational and about 110 arrests were made.

The camp was set up in protest against the failed asylum seekers’ impending deportation. The protesters claim that their lives will be at risk if they are forced to return to their countries of origin. The local council ordered that the camp be broken up because conditions there were “unsafe”.

A group of failed Iraqi asylum seekers left the camp earlier for accommodation provided by the government. Immigration Minister Gerd Leers said on Tuesday that they would be housed at least until 15 June. He is due to hold talks with his Iraqi counterpart to discuss the asylum seekers’ safe return to Iraq.

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