Dutch police free hostages from town hall siege
* Why didn’t anybody think of this before? If your council withholds a business license or you have some kind of other grievances, just go get your gun, take a few councilors as hostages and blow shit up: Bingo!
“You made me do it!”
An eight hour hostage siege has ended peacefully as Dutch riot police disarmed an angry Turkish-born Kurd who had held a local councillor and four of his staff hostage in the town hall of Almelo in the east of Holland near the German border
Mr Ocki-Erdem is reported to have set fire to his cafe and then his car
The man, identified as A Okci-Erdem and a local cafe owner was angry at the Almelo council’s continued refusal to grant him a licence for his premises called Grand Cafe de Rechter (The Judge) situated in a building near the local council offices.
* Who asked him to come?
The publican, who has been running a bar in Turkey for the past 20 years, moved to the Netherlands with his wife and son two months ago and was told by the owners of the building he could run a pub there for five years on condition he got a licence from the local council.
* Gee, and I thought the Netherlands was getting tough with Muhammedan invaders. Looks like they desperately need more Muhammedan bar owners!
Unfortunately for Okci-Erdem it is believed Almelo’s council have plans to develop the area including his building, putting up new council offices.
The bar owner’s wife said her husband finally “cracked” when told a fine of 5,000 Euros per day for every day he remained opened without a licence would remain in place despite earlier promises of a postponement while he fought his case with the local council.
This morning the Kurd, described by his wife and son as a quiet hardworking man, reportedly proceeded to burn down his cafe, drive to the council offices, park his car, set it alight, run into the council buildings waving a gun in each hand and kick down the door of the office of 57-year-old councillor Bert Kuiper, taking him and four employees hostage.
The cafe owner believed Mr Kuiper was responsible for his failure to be given a licence.
Around 5pm today after hours of negotiations police wearing bulletproof vests managed to negotiate a stand-down disarming the man and freeing the hostages. The centre of Almelo had been hermetically sealed all day bringing business in the busy town with 72,000 inhabitants to a virtual standstill.
Earlier in the day a local man said: “The whole business is like that film with Michael Douglas when after years of respectability he just went crazy from frustration because of local bureaucracy.
Last night a friend of Mr Okci-Erdem said: “He started this business two months ago, got permission to open his cafe providing work for all his family, has spent thousands of Euros on fines and finally couldn’t take all the frustration from the local council whose main priority is the building of new council offices.”
Reports remained unconfirmed that the council had a plan to develop, the area the official statement being that Mr Okci-Erdem had not been granted a licence and therefore was running his business illegally.
As relief swept the town of Almelo last night that the siege had not ended in a bloodbath, the Kurdish-Turkish population in Almelo were angry at what they see as unfair treatment of Mr Okci-Erdem.
One of his friends told the media: “We are going to take this further. We first need a lawyer and get our friend out of police custody.”
Looking visibly frightened but relieved the man’s son said: “I know my father should not have lost his temper and done this. He has never done anything like this before but he just wanted to continue running the business where all our family work.”