In Sweden the fire brigade and ambulance services are reluctant to answer calls in Muslim neighborhoods. The typical pattern of events is for “youths” to set fire to a school or other public building, and then lay an ambush for the fire brigade when it arrives. In some cities firemen and ambulance drivers refuse to enter certain neighborhoods without a police escort.
A similar situation has developed in the major urban areas of the Netherlands. Immigrant neighborhoods are increasingly lawless, controlled by gangs, and exhibit violent antipathy towards anything symbolizing the Dutch culture and authorities.
The latest example is the retreat of the official bus service from the Oosterwei neighborhood in Gouda. Our Flemish correspondent VH has kindly translated Dutch-language material from several sources. According to Sunday’s De Telegraaf:
Bus service avoids Gouda neighborhood- - - - - - - - -
After a series of incidents Connexxion [the government-subsidized public bus company] announced it would not drive though Oosterwei [a neighborhood in Gouda] for a while.
The measure follows complaints from bus drivers. They report that on their route through the neighborhood they are being spit on, threatened and robbed by mainly Moroccan youth who systematically kick against the buses as well. “The cup is full after a long series of incidents,” confirms spokeswoman Anja Pieroen of Connexxion.
Since yesterday the drivers have been diverting around the most notorious areas in the problem neighborhood Oosterwei.
The very limit was reached with the robbing of a 37-year-old driver in Gouda, who was threatened [and cut] with a knife to make him hand over the change in his cash box to a robber. Connexxion says they want to send a signal to the police and the municipality to indicate that it no longer can go on like this.
“We realize perfectly well that the avoidance of certain neighborhoods is not the solution to this persistent problem. There are people harmed here who have neither art nor part in what happened,” says the spokeswoman. The Mayor of Gouda, Wim Cornelis, yesterday announced that he would respect the decision of the drivers. Cornelis: “I think it is quite understandable that they no longer will allow themselves to be treated in such scandalous manner.”
The travelers’ association “Rover” says it fully supports the decision of Connexxion to avoid the Gouda problem area. However, the spokesman strongly urges the concerned parties to find a solution as soon as possible.
Video beneath the article, transcript:
Bus driver: “We are here to transport people, and if they make it impossible to carry out the job, the it’s useless.”
Six incidents in two months’ time occurred in and around the neighborhood Oosterwei, when bus drivers were harassed, and after the seventh incident last Wednesday Connexxion was fed up with it.
Anya Pieroen, Connexxion: “There was an attack in the bus in which the bus driver was stabbed in the neck with a knife.”
Thus Connexxion decided to divert the line 3 route around the neighborhood.
Anya Pieroen, Connexxion: “The route will take some three minutes extra, so that is not too bad, but we most of all decided to do this because our bus drivers feel unsafe, and we cannot guarantee their safety, but we have a responsibility to do that as their employer.”
The city government considers the outcome to be terrible. Partly because for many years they worked hard to upgrade the livability of the neighborhood.
Haaro Jansen, Vice Mayor of Gouda: “At citizens’ meetings it appears that citizens notice that it obviously has become more safe in East Gouda — according to the numbers, a 30% reduction of the number of incidents. And yes, it’s a pity that such an incident might move it the other way. So we are looking into it together with Connexxion, about how best to deal with this, and we regret there is now already a link made with that neighborhood. And we will talk with Connexxion about how we can run a bus though Gouda East again in a safe way.”
Those who use the bus service are shocked by the situation that has developed:
“This is terrible, isn’t it? I find it terrible, I can imagine one thinking ‘ignore it’. Something has to be done about it; I think they should take action.”
But still, the people in Oosterwei don’t have a bus service now.
“That’s the other side of it, I agree. Yes, they are the ones to face this now.”
“Yes, this is a pity for older people; it’s not nice for them.”
“In principle, for the people, I find this sad.”
But still, bus drivers are afraid.
“Yes, apparently they are afraid, but better measures have to be taken.”
Who then should do that?
“Eeeh, Connexxion I think”
Anya Pieroen, Connexxion: “We for our part can do something about security on the bus, but outside of the bus it is the responsibility of the police and the city council. Measures like more surveillance, more guards. It’s a bit difficult now to see what the solution will be, but something can be done about this, we think.”
In the neighborhood of Oosterwei nobody wanted to comment about this in front of the camera.
On Monday Geert Wilders’ response to the situation was reported on the PVV (Partij Voor de Vrijheid, Party for Freedom) website:
Wilders: Send the army to Gouda
The PVVer says that if necessary we should ask for a recall of our troops from Afghanistan, to return them to their own country to restore it to order. “It cannot be that we do everything to make Afghanistan a safer place while the Netherlands is becoming increasingly more unsafe,” says Wilders, who indicates that the Gouda situation also occurs in other municipalities.
The statements of the Gouda [Socialist] Mayor Cornelis [“if it was really serious the police would have informed me”] evoked anger from spokesman Egon Green of FNV Bondgenoten [a Workers’ Union]. “Should the bus drivers drive a tank instead?” he wonders in despair.
President Laura Werger of the Gouda VVD [Liberal Conservatives] called the statements of Mayor Cornelis “unwise”. “I assume the mayor will do his utmost to cooperate with Connexxion to solve the matter,” says the leader of the largest opposition party on the municipal council. The decision by Connexxion not to drive through the neighborhood is guaranteed to generate widespread support from amongst our readers.
“Who does not have to be in that neighborhood should be glad that the bus drives a long way around it now”, a 21-year-old student said yesterday on her way to her parents in Gouda East.