Dutch PM calls for calm in refugee crisis

The Hague, Oct 10 (IANS) Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has urged citizens to keep their wits in the discussion on the influx of refugees.

His comments, during his weekly press conference here, were prompted by recent events in Oranje village, with a population of 120 people, in Drenthe province, Xinhua news agency reported.

Last Tuesday, angry inhabitants of the village harassed state secretary for security and justice Klaas Dijkhoff due to refugees being sent to their village.

“You can be angry, but no threats are allowed and keep your hands off people,” Rutte said.

“I call on people to remain calm and to remain within the limits of the law and decency.”

The Dutch government had previously promised Oranje it would reduce the number of refugees to 700, after protests arose against the reception of 1,400 in the village.

However, Dijkhoff decided on Tuesday to send another 700 refugees to Oranje, as a temporary measure for emergency shelter. He said there was no alternative because otherwise families with children would have to spend the night on the streets.

The arrival of extra refugees sparked fury in the village. Villagers not only harassed Dijkhoff, but also held up two buses transporting migrants. By the end of the evening, the refugees were able to enter the camp.

With hundreds of refugees reaching the Netherlands every day, the reception centers, already housing 36,254 asylum seekers by the end of September, have almost reached the limits of their capacity.

Municipalities and provinces were urged to help, but some meetings on the arrival of refugees had a hostile atmosphere. Since Tuesday, the events in Oranje became somehow symbolic for the unrest on the influx of refugees.

On Friday, the prime minister had a meeting with mayors, municipalities and provinces.

The parties decided to make an extra effort to transfer 10,000 asylum seekers with a residence permit, who are currently staying in a reception center waiting for a new home, to municipalities. This should make place in the reception centers for new refugees.

The government hopes that by doing this it will no longer force the municipalities to arrange emergency shelter, as happened on Tuesday in Oranje.

These asylum seekers with a residence status are expected to be housed temporarily for approximately six months, after which they will get a semi-permanent home.

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