AMSTERDAM — Police and the national security service AIVD are to investigate extreme-right youths who wear Lonsdale clothing as concerns rise over the radicalisation of Dutch youth.
The youths — who are distinguished by wearing the clothing brand Lonsdale and are openly opposed to immigrants — are said to be sparking street disturbances and other violent incidents.
After police raised the alarm over the speed of radicalisation of young native-Dutch people, Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner announced the Cabinet has ordered an investigation to determine how dangerous these groups are, RTL News reported on Tuesday.
The RID, a regional police intelligence unit, recently claimed the radicalisation of a hardcore of Dutch teens potentially poses a threat more dangerous than Islamic terrorism.
Lonsdale youths are said to be responsible for more inter-racial incidents, street disturbances and violence than previously estimated. Researchers claim incidents involving Lonsdale youths have multiplied in recent months.
In the latest incident, teens dressed in Lonsdale clothing were involved in a massive violent confrontation with Turkish immigrants in Venray on Saturday. It began when windows of a local mosque were smashed.
Police have arrested three suspects, a 21-year-old Zwolle man, a 33-year-old Belfeld man and a 16-year-old Tegelen resident.
Venray Mayor Jos Waals said on Monday that some of the rioters were from Amsterdam and Westland. Police have not ruled out more arrests.
The police were completely surprised by the riots and Venray Council will discuss the incident on Tuesday night. Waals met with police and prosecution officials on Monday and has proposed to the council tough measures to crackdown on racism.
Interior Minister Johan Remkes has informed Waals that Saturday’s riot was not an isolated incident, but was instead a national phenomenon in which right-wing extremists are gaining more influence in the Netherlands.
In another incident, police have arrested four youths in connection with an arson attack against an Islamic school in Uden last month. That attack came after the school was burned down in a deliberately lit fire last November.
That attack came after a suspected Islamic militant murdered filmmaker Theo van Gogh in Amsterdam on 2 November 2004. Some 106 retaliatory attacks against Islamic targets were reported in the month after the brutal slaying.
Secondary school Dockingacollege in Dokkum banned students from wearing Lonsdale clothing last year after the summer vacation. The move came in response to racist actions of a group of youths against an asylum seeker centre in the Friesland city.
The youths threw clods of dirt and stones at the refugees and graffiti-ed the area with Nazi swastikas and stars of David.
The subsequent ban on wearing Lonsdale clothing has been declared a success, provided that the issue is discussed with students. “There have been no more incidents in the past six months,” school director Tjitte Wierdsma said.
But Wierdsma also said it is important to discuss the ban, asserting that despite the fact it changes outward behaviour, the thoughts of Lonsdale youths also need to change.
He said the school now devotes more time in school lessons to social studies and religion. Teachers also explain why the ban was imposed and lead discussions about the measure.
The school said it had not received any negative feedback, asserting that parents are instead pleased with plan. The school said parents claim it helps them raise their children.