DutchAmsterdam.nl, May 5, 2010 — Dozens of people were injured last night when panic broke out in a crowd gathered at Amsterdam’s Dam Square for the national Remembrance Day commemorations.
Police arrested the man who caused the panic.
The man, described by witnesses as ‘confused,’ had at first been mumbling incoherently. One minute into the 2 minutes of silence observed as part of the ceremony he suddenly gave a 5-seconds-long, loud scream.
This caused bystanders to panic and try to push through the crowd, away from the man.
In the process a security fence fell over with a sharp, shot-like sound, creating panic further away in the 20.000-strong crowd.
In the confusion one man inadvertently dropped his briefcase. Someone yelled, “Bomb! Bomb! Escape!” adding to the panic.
Police say 63 people were injured. Injuries included scrapes, bruises and some broken bones.
Last year a man purposely drove his car into the crowd watching the royal motorcade at the Queen’s Day celebrations in Apeldoorn. Police described that incident as an attempted attack on the Royal Family.
During the incident at Dam Square members of the Royal Family were quickly ushered away. They soon returned and the ceremony, which includes the laying of wreaths at the National Monument, continued.
Police superintendent Bernard Welten told the press the arrested man was well known to the police, having been previously arrested for theft, assault, drug trafficking and drug possession.
The man’s identity has not been released, but police reports he is being held in extended custody because in addition to disturbance of public order is also suspected of causing grievous bodily harm by negligence.
The suspect has made no statement. Nothing is known about the motives for his behavior.
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