Dutch police have deployed water cannons, horses, and dogs to disperse a violent protest of Turkish nationalists who rioted and chanted “Allah hu Akbar” (our god is greatest).
The demonstrators turned out after the Dutch government blocked two Turkish ministers from addressing rallies in the Netherlands in support of Islamist President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan expanding his power.
Thousands took to the streets of Amsterdam and Rotterdam. Cars and motorbikes drove in circles, waving Turkish flags and blowing their horns.
When police tried to clear the streets in Rotterdam, demonstrators threw stones, and rioting broke out. Some protestors were seen making the “grey wolf” fascist salute.
According to Dutch public broadcaster NOS, 13 people were arrested in Amsterdam for throwing stones at police, making “Hitler salutes”, and public violence. Six were arrested in Rotterdam for “insulting” police officers and throwing stones.
Around 400,000 people in the Netherlands hold dual Turkish and Dutch citizenship, making them eligible to vote in Turkey’s referendum on expanding presidential power.
— ARnews 1936 (@ARnews1936) March 11, 2017
President Erdoğan and his ruling AKP party have held rallies in Germany, Sweden, and France. However, rallies in Austria and Switzerland were cancelled. They were blocked in the Netherlands after Dutch populist Geert Wilders protested.
This led to Mr. Erdoğan accusing the Dutch government of acting like “Nazis” and threatening harsh sanctions.
Mr. Wilders hit back, saying: “We have a fifth column in the Netherlands. If your loyalty lies elsewhere then get out. No dual citizenship anymore. And shut the borders.”
The Dutch go to the polls in the presidential election in less than 48 hours. The escalating diplomatic crisis with Turkey and violent, Islamist-linked protests are likely to help Mr. Wilders and his anti-mass migration party, the Party for Freedom (PVV).