I silently shed a tear...

Panic during Remembrance Day ceremony in Amsterdam
At least 10 people were injured after panic broke out during the Remembrance Day commemorations on Amsterdam's Dam square on Tuesday evening when a man began shouting during the two minutes silence.

The man has been arrested but the motive for his actions is still unclear, a police spokesman told Nos tv.

Most of the injured had either broken bones or scrapes and bruises received when parts of the crowd began moving following the shouts. At least one safety barrier fell during the crush.

Eyewitness

According to eyewitnesses quoted on the Telegraaf website the man on the telephone during the two minutes silence and called to order by other people in the crowd.

'Then he began to shout. Another person hit him, probably to shut him up, and then he was taken off by the police. That is when the panic started,' one eyewitness told the paper.

Telegraaf columnist Selale Dogan said witnessed another person in the crowd jump on the man. 'People began to scream and push. They tried to get away. It was chaos but no-one knew what was going on,' Dogan said.

Queen

Queen Beatrix was ushered away from the ceremony during the incident but returned a few minutes later after order had been restored. The ceremony was then resumed.

The tens of thousands of people present on the Dam were told someone had been taken ill.

Before the two minutes silence, wreaths had been laid by the queen, crown prince Willem-Alexander, political leaders and Amsterdam's acting mayor Lodewijk Asscher.

Prime minister

In a speech, prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende spoke about Miep Gies, the women who helped Anne Frank hide from the Nazis during World War II and who died a few months ago.

Gies did not consider herself a hero, but said her history was the 'story of ordinary people in terrible times,' he said.

'We are those ordinary people,' the prime minister said. 'We keep the memories of all Dutch victims alive.'

Video here (NL).

One of the most sacred (in a secular sense) days of this nations calendar. And somebody just has to go and taint it, disrespect it in this callous, unthinking manner... This is how a nation loses its heart and soul.

[UPDATE001] Apparently, the trouble maker was a notorious petty criminal/junk (NL). Video of the arrest is here (from 1:33). For once I have to concede everyone involved reacted adequately admirably, from the officers making the arrest to the royal family, who (after quickly being ushered off-scene by security) returned within minutes quite defiantly, and later visited the injured at the aid station. Did I just witness a glimmer of national character?

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