Geert Wilders lacks money for campaign security
30 August 2006, AMSTERDAM — Right-wing MP Geert Wilders can't afford to hold election rallies over the next few months because the justice ministry is refusing to pay for the extra security required.
30 August 2006
AMSTERDAM — Right-wing MP Geert Wilders can't afford to hold election rallies over the next few months because the justice ministry is refusing to pay for the extra security required.
Wilders has received numerous death threats in recent years over his criticism of Islam. He had to go into hiding for several weeks after the murder of film director Theo Van Gogh in November 2004. Wilders is accompanied everywhere by bodyguards.
He left the Liberal Party (VVD) in 2004 over his opposition to Turkey joining the EU and he recently founded the Party for Freedom (PvdV) to contest the general election in November.
Newspaper 'De Volkskrant' reported on Wednesday that the MP had to cancel a gathering in the town of Holten on Tuesday evening as his bodyguards felt it was not be safe to proceed. A meeting in Friesland scheduled for Wednesday evening has also been cancelled.
His guards feel his safety can only be guaranteed if everyone attending the party's rallies has to pass through an electronic security gate. Such metal detectors, plus operators, cost at least EUR 1,000 a night. "We don't have that. We are a small party," Wilders told the newspaper. "This means the end of my campaign".
He asked the Justice Ministry, which is responsible for his day to day security, to help.
"But it doesn't want to," the MP said. This was confirmed by the ministry. "All organisations are responsible for their own internal security arrangements," a spokesperson said.
Wilders has placed his hope in Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner. "I hope he recognises this as an impossible situation. I haven't asked for this."
Earlier this month broadcaster TROS cancelled a television appearance by Wilders because it felt the security costs were too high.
Parliament has supported the call for the government to provide financial support to pay for the extra security for Wilders during the election campaign.
"We believe the government must ensure that everyone can conduct a campaign in all freedom," parliament's chairman Frans Weisglas said. Money should not be an obstacle, he added.
[Copyright Expatica New 2006]
Subject: Dutch news