Dutch soldiers will help the police in Curaçao to maintain public order. The reason is the riots of the past few days on the island. The Ministry of Defense does not want to say how many soldiers are involved.
The unrest started on Wednesday, when a protest against the government of Curaçao got out of hand. Riots followed, including stores were looted and started fires. Just 55 people were arrested last night alone.
According to correspondent Dick Drayer, the perpetrators are not protesters, but gang members, who are active at night and leave a trail of destruction. “The police always seem to be a step late. There were 63 fires the previous night. And now there are also fires in various places.”
The Ministry of Defense is now granting a request from the local authorities for support in guarding and securing objects. The military will also patrol the street visibly and support the police.
Defense is present on Curaçao with Dutch soldiers who are temporarily seconded and with members of the ‘Curaçao militia’, who have been trained locally. The latter group, unlike the Dutch military, is usually more visibly deployed. This concerns, for example, law enforcement and roadblocks.
“This also has to do with the sensitivities between the Netherlands and Curaçao,” says Drayer. “The island is autonomous and has a long colonial history. Many white soldiers on the street can be interpreted as colonial interference. Moreover, a photo in the newspaper of a Dutch soldier who gives a Curaçao rioter a rattle, I think – falls in this time – not good either. “
The deployment of Dutch soldiers on Curaçao is not new. “Coast Guard border control has been stepped up early in the corona crisis to prevent potentially contaminated Venezuelans from entering the country unseen. Dutch military personnel are actively involved,” said Drayer.
In the fight against the current riots, the Curaçao police also receives support from the corps of the surrounding islands of Aruba and Bonaire. The agents arrived in Curaçao yesterday afternoon.