About 200 stage peaceful protest against Wilders

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The demonstrators were protesting against the anti-Islam politician’s racist statements.

Arnhem – A protest demonstration against Dutch anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders was held peacefully Monday evening in the city of Arnhem.

Some 200 protesters carrying torches marched through the city while Wilders' Freedom Party met behind closed doors.

Arnhem's mayor Pauline Krikke granted permission for the protest on condition that the march would not be held near the hotel where the Freedom Party meeting was taking place.

Wilders is a danger to the law
The Dutch political establishment has once against criticised Wilders after three sociologists published an article in de Volkskrant saying the Freedom Party is an extreme right-wing party and Wilders is a threat to democracy.

On Monday, Housing Minister Eberhard van der Laan (Labour) described Wilders as a danger to the rule of law, should he get the 1.5 million votes that polls are predicting.

"A single man saying crazy things won't undermine the constitutional state, but if countless people agree with him, you can't ignore it."

Opposition leftwing liberal leader Alexander Pechtold called Wilders a racist, in response to government-sponsored research by three academics into radicalisation. The researchers said in their report that the Freedom Party is "islamophobic" and "is mobilising systematic hatred against the authorities".

In response, Wilders responded to the accusations via a text message to de Volkskrant. He borrowing words often used by assassinated politician Pim Fortuyn and wrote: "These researchers are barking mad. This is idiocy. It's the umpteenth pathetic attempt by the elite to demonise us and to try and silence the Freedom Party and all of our voters."

Wilders also described minister Van der Laan and liberal leader Pechtold as "political associates of Mohammed B.", the radical Dutch Muslim who murdered filmmaker and Islam critic Theo van Gogh in November 2004.

Van der Laan, a former lawyer, told Dutch public broadcaster NOS that he had been a personal friend of Van Gogh and Wilders’ attempt to associate Pechtold and him with that terrible event is indecent.

"Wilders is entitled to his views, but we are entitled to respond to them," said the minister.
Radio Netherlands / Expatica

1 Comment To This Article

  • Brit in NL posted:

    on 25th November 2009, 12:07:47 - Reply

    Freedom of speech is only useful if it is in the public interest, true and honest reflection of the facts. Since when was it OK, in this present age to give a right wing extremist the free pass of "freedom of speech", to indict against people due to their belief??? is that not a modern day attempt to be Hitler (but with less brains?) .
    The fact that this kind of behaviour is "tolerated" by The Netherlands suggests, that real issues to improve society are not on the agenda, when the likes of Wilders get so much publicity, in addition to consuming tax payers hard earnt money, on someone who could not give a stuff about anyone, because HE IS a racist.

    Has the moral structure of what should be debated and what is acceptable really gone so downhill?