There was a commotion late Sunday afternoon at the gates of the asylum application center in Ter Appel. A police spokesman said police responded to the scene and detained one man but ultimately decided not to arrest him. Secretary of State Eric van der Berg (asylum) spoke of “a bad situation”.

Police officers stayed at a crowded shelter in the province of Groningen to monitor the situation. They separated the fighting parties, the police said. The Central Agency for Reception of Asylum Seekers (CoA) will not provide any information as the conflict took place outside the fence of the centre.

An ANP photographer present at the scene saw a group of more than 100 asylum seekers clash with a group of about ten others. He allegedly stole things from her. The bags flew into the air, the photographer said.

The situation at the Ter Appel Asylum Center has been restless for months. The whole chain of refuge is trapped. Refugees, asylum seekers with residency permits for the Netherlands, cannot move out of asylum centers because there is no housing for them. As a result, there is no room for new asylum seekers.

Municipalities have opened up emergency shelters, but not enough to address the shortage. As a result, people are regularly forced to sleep outside the application center in Ter Appel. Around 250 people had to sleep outside on Saturday night. On Sunday night also saw people sleeping in the open air.

Several dozen refugees have been protesting in Ter Appel in recent days. Till Sunday evening, they lay at the entrance of the centre, refusing food and water and refusing to take shelter in makeshift tents.

Secretary of State Van der Burgh called it “a bad situation” that police had to intervene on Sunday evening. “My first priority at the moment is that the women and children standing there can enter safely and spend the night safely,” he said on Sunday evening. “I am in close touch with the CoA and the police to ensure that no women and children are sleeping outside.

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