Security scare disrupts Dutch war memorial tribute

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The Independent Online

About 10 people were injured and the Dutch queen was briefly rushed to safety today when a shouting man caused panic among thousands of visitors at the country's annual ceremony honoring World War II victims.

Security officers hustled Queen Beatrix away during the incident on Amsterdam's Dam Square, but the Dutch monarch returned within minutes and the ceremony continued.

Police spokesman Piet Kelder said the man who started shouting during a two-minute silence was quickly overpowered and arrested, but his motive was not known.

"Right now we're figuring out what the reason was that this guy started shouting and went and disturbed the memorial," Kelder said on state television.



Footage of the incident showed people uncertain of what was happening running away from the disturbance in fright. Afterward, parents comforted crying children. One young girl was carried away in the arms of a police officer.

Kelder said that about 10 people were injured in the panic, with injuries ranging from "scrapes to some broken bones."

The queen and other members of the royal family were quickly escorted to a side street by plainclothes officers.

Within minutes the master of ceremonies announced that someone among the bystanders had fallen ill, and that the ceremony could continue. The crowd applauded.

The royal family returned, and the ceremonies resumed with the laying of wreaths at the city's central war monument and a speech by Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende. The queen looked unsettled after her return but later sighed in relief and began smiling.

The incident came one year after Beatrix and her family were targeted in an assassination attempt by an unemployed recluse during the annual Queen's Day national holiday. The man came within meters of slamming his car into the open-topped royal bus before he swerved into a stone monument, killing himself and seven others.

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