Dam Square Celtic violence linked to Ajax hooligans

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The mayor of Amsterdam has blamed Ajax hooligans for stirring the violence that erupted in the Dutch capital before Celtic’s Champions League game last month.

A report by the city’s police force said the rioting in Dam Square was triggered when three Ajax supporters stole a flag from a group of Celtic fans.

The violence occurred in and around Dam Square. Picture: AP

The violence occurred in and around Dam Square. Picture: AP

However, Eberhard van der Laan also said some Celtic fans were guilty of “excessive violence” and that seven police officers were injured during the unrest.

Mayor van der Laan said that that incident, and a “hit-and-run” raid on a bar packed with travelling supporters the night before, were the main spur for the outbreak of violence on 6 November.

In a letter to the city council he wrote: “I interpret this hooligan behaviour as possibly the most important cause for the emergence of disorder between the Celtic supporters and the Amsterdam police at Dam Square on 6 November at around 17:30.”

The mayor said he had concluded that “all necessary measures were taken by the police in their preparations and focused on preventing escalation”.

He went on: “The detention unit agents were met with excessive violence from some of the Celtic supporters and no fewer than seven agents were injured.

“For a short time, the detention unit agents no longer felt safe. They must, and are expected to, react proportionately in such a situation.”

Mr Van der Laan asked police to submit a report on the chaotic half-hour on Dam Square that led to the arrest of 28 Celtic fans and 17 Ajax supporters.

The report said Celtic fans had been in Dam Square since the morning and were drinking heavily, but were on good terms with the police until the violence started. Police said the flashpoint came when three Ajax fans snatched a Celtic flag and ran from the square. As uniformed police tried to arrest the Ajax fans they came under attack from travelling supporters,

according to the report by police chief Jan Pronker.

Five Celtic fans are appealing against prison sentences handed down by Amsterdam’s district court for using violence against police. They claim the undercover officers who arrested them failed to identify themselves.

Celtic has submitted a dossier of 25 complaints by fans to a Dutch lawyer who is deciding whether to press charges against the Amsterdam police.

Jeanette Findlay of the Celtic Trust said: “This letter, and the ‘investigation’ on which it is based, is no more than a cover-up of the brutal and criminal behaviour of the Dutch police.

“We find it incredible that the Dutch authorities have allowed the police to investigate themselves in this matter.”

Padraig Mullen, 28, and 23-year-old Damian Dobbin, from Hamilton, received jail sentences of two months.

Thomas Kennedy, 30, and Andy Vance, 21, were sentenced to six weeks, and Joseph McPherson, 20, was given a one-month sentence. All have been released and returned home.

A sixth man, John Quigley, was acquitted.

Tom English: Celtic’s unsavoury Amsterdam night

Video: Celtic fans attacked by masked Ajax supporters