Netherlands shows solidarity with France after Paris attacks

2015-11-15 22:19:48 GMT2015-11-16 06:19:48(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

THE HAGUE, Nov. 15 (Xinhua) -- Following Friday's attacks in Paris, the Netherlands displayed several signs of compassion with France on Sunday, with solidarity marches, lights in the colors of the French flag and a minute of silence.

In Amsterdam, several hundred people walked through the De Pijp neighborhood to express their solidarity with the victims in Paris. The procession was organized by Amsterdam mosques and synagogues with the theme "newcomers to the city" but it became a solidarity trip due to the events in France.

Mayor Eberhard van der Laan walked along with the march of about two hours. Also on Sunday, the Amsterdam mayor had a meeting with the public prosecutor and the police on the possible consequences of the attacks in Paris for the Dutch capital.

"For the moment, this is not the case," the Amsterdam municipality stated in a press release. "The threat level in the Netherlands has been substantial for some time. Amsterdam therefore has taken measures for some time, visible and invisible. As a result of the recent attacks, the police will be on extra alert."

To show solidarity several iconic buildings in the Netherlands were lit in the colors of the French flag, blue-white-red, like in Amsterdam, the Royal Palace at Dam Square, and the stadium of soccer club Ajax, the Amsterdam Arena.

Elsewhere in the county, solidarity meetings were also held, like at the Grote Markt square in Groningen, where several hundred people commemorated the victims of the attacks. In Arnhem, a group of 150 to 200 refugees walked a march to show support.

Across the Netherlands one minute of silence will be observed at 12 p.m. local time on Monday, as in the rest of the European Union. Radio and TV stations also join and public transport will stop for a minute as well.

Minister Edith Schippers of Health, Welfare and Sport announced that she will visit next Tueday's friendly soccer match between Germany and Netherlands in Hanover. She thus followed the example of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who decided to attend the game with her entire team of ministers.

"After the attacks in Paris this match is more than just a friendly match," explained Schippers. "We will show that we continue with our free way of life."

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte on Saturday expressed condolences to the victims, relatives and the French people over Friday's deadly attacks in Paris. King Willem-Alexander also issued a statement to say that his "thoughts are with all those who now have intense grief about the loss of their loved ones and to all the victims of these cowardly attacks."

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