Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Update – Tuesday 19th November

It is now 13 days since Celtic played Ajax in Amsterdam. It was a trip many Celtic supporters had been looking forward to for a variety of reasons since the draw was made. It is now a journey many wished they hadn’t made.

What happened between 5pm and 6pm in and around Damstraat and the National Monument in Dam Square will stay long in the memory of those who were there. Football fans are used to strong policing. They are used to being ordered around and treated as second class citizens. They are used to unjust laws applicable to only those who follow “our national game”.

What we are not used to however is the police brutality which occurred in that hour and the injustice of the imprisonment, assault and continued detention of fans whose only crime was being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Ten Celtic fans still face charges. The exact nature of those charges is still unclear even 13 days later.

Those charged have been charged with throwing a bottle later changed to throwing a green can. They did neither.

They have been identified as having red hair in court, subsequently changed to spiky blonde hair. The accused in question has neither.

They have been accused of being so drunk that they were oblivious to any stimuli. The accused in question is very much aware of every second of the brutal assault that was launched on him both in Dam Square and then out of sight of any cameras in a police van. Oblivion to pain and stimuli would have been very welcome.

Two fans, Andy Vance and Padraig Mullan have been held since that night. They remain in prison both still suffering from their injuries and one who has still not been allowed to wear his own clothes. Both vehemently protest their innocence but still they are held. Another eight fans face charges, four on Thursday and another three in January.

A remarkable campaign has been launched aimed at securing their release and the freedom of their co-accused. The campaign began despite initial media reports of “Celtic Fans Rioting” and the levels of police injury. The campaign has managed to force a re-examination of the events of Dam Square both in Holland and somewhat more reluctantly in Scotland. The campaign has also managed to report the dozens of injuries suffered by Celtic fans and the levels of police brutality they faced. The fear people described by fans with, no means of escape, is chilling: men, young and old, women and children.

To date the following activities have been undertaken or are being undertaken by a variety of Celtic fans and organisations:
  • ·        Contact made with the families to offer them support and reassurance
  • ·        Video evidence has been collated and analysed and this continues
  • ·        Legal and translation advice has been given
  • ·   Complaints have been processed and passed on to Celtic FC who is employing a lawyer in Amsterdam to examine them
  • ·     Media work in the Netherlands and to a more limited extent (for obvious reasons!) in Scotland has been done
  • ·  Letters have been written to the Dutch Embassy, to the Mayor of Amsterdam, to the Chief of the Dutch Police
  • ·  Protests have been held outside the Dutch Embassies in Dublin and London and one is now planned for New York
  • ·   A Legal Defence Fund was set up and is currently being supported by supporters all over the world – this continues alongside local initiatives by CSCs and forums etc

On Thursday November 21 at 13:30, at Parnassusweg 220, Amsterdam. Celtic fans will begin the next steps to achieve justice for our supporters and to hold the police and authorities to account. We wish the full story of what happened in Dam Square to be told not just in Holland but in Scotland too. We will be asking for the immediate release of Padraig Mullan and Andy Vance and the dropping of charges against all of the accused fans.

We will then continue our campaign to ask why the Amsterdam police force unleashed a wave of brutality on our supporters as confirmed by the deluge of statements received by the #DamJustice campaign and by Celtic FC.

We ask that Celtic supporters continue to support the #DamJustice campaign with their customary magnificent backing. 

If you want to help us with the  bucket collection at the Aberdeen game on Saturday 23rd November please email dambhoys8@yahoo.co.uk for details.  We need a lorryload of bucketeers!