Anti-asylum seekers protest in the Netherlands turns violent

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A protest against a center for asylum seekers in the Netherlands has turned violent after protesters stormed a municipal hall where a meeting was underway.

The municipal council in Geldermalsen, about 60 kilometers (37 miles) southeast of Amsterdam, was meeting on Wednesday night to discuss a proposal to accommodate 1,500 asylum seekers at a local center for a period of 10 years. It would make it the country’s third largest asylum seekers center.

The situation had been deteriorating throughout the evening, with heavy fireworks being thrown at the municipal building. It escalated at about 8:30 p.m. when a group of protesters stormed the building, forcing those inside to be evacuated to the upper floors.

“Everyone in the municipal hall is safe. And then people say they are afraid of asylum seekers. I’m extremely sad,” Geldermalsen mayor Miranda de Vries said on Twitter, adding later that the meeting would not resume on Wednesday night.

A police spokeswoman confirmed that warning shots had been fired and that multiple people were arrested. She added that two officers sustained minor injuries.

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