Police in Leiden prevent riots by giving out free coffee

The police in Leiden manage to ensure a quiet Friday night in Leiden despite calls for riots. Only one suspect was arrested for the intention of starting a riot. Police officers maintained the peace by giving out free coffee and tea.

Calls to start riots in various places in Leiden circulated on social media during the past week. Messages on WhatsApp indicated that hundreds of young people were making plans to cause disturbances in the city.

Many messages contained the idea to go and “drink coffee,” which has become a term used to indicate the intention to cause unrest. The police used this metaphor and went to the area considered most at risk with jugs of coffee.

“We love coffee, which is why we went to the agreed place with a number of local police officers, law enforcement officials, Mayor Lenferink and our team chef. Of course, we also took a few jugs of coffee and tea with us,” said a police spokesperson, who responded to the call in a playful way and hoped to keep the peace in a relaxed manner.

It worked. According to the police, the message was clear: “We still want to talk to our residents. And of course we want to prevent our beautiful city from suffering from the demonstrations and riots surrounding the discussion about the curfew. We had a lot of visitors and so the evening went smoothly.” Mayor Henri Lenferink was also pleased with the way the police dealt with the threat.

In the end, only one 19-year-old man from Noordwijkerhout was arrested for the intention of inciting violence. He was brought to the police station for questioning.