Insurers estimate riot damage of least €1m in Dutch town of Haren

PUBLISHED : Monday, 24 September, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 24 September, 2012, 4:11am


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Insurers estimate that the damage bill from rioting in a sleepy Dutch town after a Facebook party invitation went viral could top a €1 million (HK$10.1million).

After a night of violence when police officers were pelted with stones, bottles, tubs of flowers and even bicycles, local officials lined up to denounce those responsible and promise they would be brought to justice.

The estimate of "at least" a €1 million by the Dutch Association of Insurers (Verbond van Verzekeraars) was part of the fall-out from Friday night's clashes in the northern town of Haren.

Insurers "would do everything" to ensure the guilty parties contributed to covering the cost of the wreckage, echoing earlier remarks by the justice minister, the association said, Dutch news agency ANP reported.

Local police chief Oscar Drots said the 34 people arrested would be charged with public disturbance.

The unrest meant that 500 police officers had to be called to the scene, he added. Twenty-nine people, including three officers, were injured during the clashes.

Police had been on high alert after the girl posted a message inviting friends to her 16th birthday party on Friday, but forgot to mark it as a private event. That prompted some 20,000 replies.

Officials said between 3,000 and 5,000 people turned up in the small town, home to only 18,000 residents.

Riot police tried to block access to the girl's street, but clashed with hundreds of drunken youths who tried to force their way in. After pelting the police with missiles, groups of rioters moved on to the centre of the town where they wrecked cars, fencing, street lamps and signs.

Some party-goers wore T-shirts bearing the words "Project X Haren", after the 2012 US teen film Project X - about a birthday party that gets out of control after an invitation goes viral. Previous "Project X" parties have run riot in the world including Germany, Australia and especially the US, where teenagers wrecked an unoccupied Texas home, causing damage of up to US$100,000.