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Eritrean Diaspora Clashes in The Hague: A Deeper Look

Eritrean Diaspora Clashes in The Hague: A Deeper Look

The recent riots in The Hague, Netherlands, involving rival Eritrean groups, represent a significant and worrying manifestation of the diaspora’s political tensions spilling over into European cities. This article delves into the underlying causes, the events as they unfolded, and the broader implications of such incidents on community relations and public safety within host nations.


The conflict between Eritrean government supporters and opposition groups in the diaspora is long-standing, rooted in the country’s political situation. Eritrea, often dubbed the “North Korea of Africa,” is criticized for its human rights record and lack of political freedoms. The government under President Isaias Afwerki has been accused of severe human rights violations, leading to a significant number of Eritreans seeking asylum abroad.

The Incident in The Hague

On a day that began like any other in The Hague, tensions between these rival Eritrean factions escalated into violence. Two groups, each representing opposing political stances regarding the Eritrean government, clashed in the streets. The violence resulted in police cars and a bus being set ablaze, a stark symbol of the chaos that ensued. The Dutch police were forced to deploy tear gas in an attempt to disperse the rioters and restore order.

The use of violence in expressing political dissent among the Eritrean diaspora in Europe is not unprecedented but is deeply concerning. The clashes in The Hague are a reflection of the deep-seated political divisions within the Eritrean community and the extent to which these tensions can manifest violently in host countries.

Causes and Contributing Factors

Several factors contribute to the intensity and frequency of such clashes among the Eritrean diaspora. Firstly, the Eritrean government’s repressive policies have not only pushed many to flee but have also fostered a climate of mistrust and fear that extends beyond Eritrea’s borders. Secondly, the diaspora is divided along lines of support for and opposition to the current regime, leading to frequent confrontations. Lastly, the presence of Eritrean government representatives and activities in foreign countries often acts as a lightning rod for protests and counter-protests by the diaspora.

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The implications of such incidents are manifold. For host countries, they pose a challenge to public safety and the integration of immigrant communities. They also raise questions about the extent to which foreign political disputes should be allowed to manifest within their borders. For the Eritrean community, these incidents can exacerbate divisions and hinder efforts towards unity and mutual support in the diaspora.

Moreover, the violence in The Hague serves as a reminder of the ongoing struggle for democracy and human rights in Eritrea. It underscores the need for international attention and support for Eritreans both within the country and in the diaspora.

Responses and Reactions

The response from Dutch authorities to the rioting in The Hague was swift, with a focus on restoring order and ensuring public safety. However, the incident has sparked a broader debate on how to handle the expression of foreign political conflicts on Dutch soil. Some argue for stricter measures to prevent such clashes, while others advocate for dialogue and community engagement to address the underlying issues.

The Eritrean community’s reactions are mixed, with some condemning the violence and calling for peace, while others see it as a legitimate expression of political dissent. The incident has also prompted discussions within the community about the importance of finding peaceful ways to resolve their differences and advocate for change in Eritrea.

Moving Forward

Looking ahead, it is clear that addressing the root causes of such incidents will require a multifaceted approach. Host countries like the Netherlands may need to explore more effective strategies for managing diaspora communities with deep political divisions. This could include promoting dialogue and reconciliation initiatives, as well as ensuring that foreign political activities do not lead to violence.

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For the Eritrean diaspora, the incident in The Hague highlights the importance of unity and solidarity in their struggle for a better Eritrea. It also serves as a call to engage in peaceful and constructive forms of political expression.


The rioting in The Hague is a stark reminder of the complex challenges faced by the Eritrean diaspora and the host countries where they reside. While the immediate focus must be on healing and rebuilding after the violence, the long-term solutions lie in addressing the political oppression in Eritrea that continues to drive such divisions. For the international community, supporting efforts towards peace and democracy in Eritrea is crucial in preventing future incidents of this nature.

By understanding the underlying causes and working towards inclusive solutions, it is possible to mitigate the impact of such conflicts and promote a peaceful and integrated society. The events in The Hague should serve as a wake-up call to all stakeholders involved, highlighting the need for concerted efforts to address the challenges faced by the Eritrean diaspora and ensure that their host countries remain safe spaces for all.

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