Amsterdam on ‘high alert’ for Ajax vs Man Utd

The Hague (AFP) – Police in Amsterdam are on high alert after the Manchester attack with large crowds set to gather outdoors to watch Wednesday’s Europa League final between Ajax and Manchester United.

The match will be screened live from the Stockholm Friends Arena on a giant screen set up in Amsterdam’s famous Museum Square, with up to 100,000 Ajax fans expected to turn out.

“An immense number of police officers are being deployed, together with municipal safety officers,” an Amsterdam official said.

“The attack in Manchester fits the current threat faced by all big European cities,” the official told the De Telegraaf newspaper.

Dutch anti-terror chief Dick Schoof said late Tuesday after meeting police and event organisers that all parties “are on extra alert” following Monday’s attack in which 22 people were killed and dozens injured.

But unlike in Britain, Schoof has not increased the terror threat level to maximum, saying he would only do so “if we have information about an actual attack, which we don’t”.

Schoof stressed no extra security measures were taken in Amsterdam following the attack, but he pressed people “to be alert, keep an eye on things and report any suspect behaviour immediately”.

“Better one warning too many, than one too few,” Schoof added.     

Amsterdam’s mayor Eberhard van der Laan had already announced emergency measures Monday, before the Manchester suicide bombing at a concert by US pop star Ariana Grande.

“Chances are, judging by experience over the last few years, that a huge number of Ajax fans will gather in the city,” Van der Laan said in a letter announcing the measures.

“There is a chance that public order will be disturbed and that cans, glasses and bottles will be thrown, vandalism will happen… and fireworks set off,” the mayor said, before declaring parts of Amsterdam emergency zones.

Many fans travelling to the city to watch the game on the giant screen in the shadow of the famous Rijksmuseum said they believed celebrations would be muted out of respect for the Manchester victims, some of them children.

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