Violence Mars Anniversary Celebration

An Israel Independence Day tribute in The Hague Congress Hall attended by representatives of the Royal Family and Holland’s top government leaders Thursday was marred by a violent demonstration that greeted the arrival of Crown Princess Beatrix and Prince Claus outside the hall and the discovery shortly afterwards of a powerful bomb in a wing of the building.

The audience of several thousand inside the hall was unaware of these events and the ceremonies were not interrupted. The bomb was discovered in a toilet in a movie theater annexed to the Congress building after an anonymous telephone call prompted a search. Only 15 minutes earlier, the Royal party, accompanied by Mayor Frans Schols of The Hague, was confronted by about 40 demonstrators, aged between 20-25, who threw smoke-bombs and set off fireworks at the entrance to the Congress Hall. Seven arrests were made.

The celebration of Israel’s 30th anniversary was attended among other by Premier Andries van Agt, Foreign Minister Christopher van der Klaauw and Education Minister Arie Pais. Israel was represented by its Ambassador to The Netherlands, Shlomo Argov; Deputy Minister of General Affairs Yoram Aridor; and Shimon Peres, leader of the opposition Labor Alignment. Van Agt, Arider and Peres spoke, stressing the traditional warm friendship between the Dutch government and people and Israel.

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