Dutch parliament rejects anti-immigrant website

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The Dutch parliament on Tuesday voted to reject a website set up by the right-wing Freedom Party which asks people to report problems they have experienced with foreigners.

The party last month launched the site "Report Middle and Eastern Europeans" which asks respondents whether they have been annoyed by noise, drunkenness or squalor associated with migrant workers or lost jobs to them.

The Dutch parliament, in its first reaction to the controversial site, in a majority vote condemned the online project set up by Geert Wilders' Freedom Party (PVV), a junior partner in the governing coalition.

"A motion has been adopted by the majority of the Lower House in which the website is being rejected," parliamentary spokesman Leon van Schie told AFP.

"The Lower House, after having heard arguments, states that the PVV website... unnecessarily puts a group of people in the cross-hairs," said the motion, passed by 94 votes against 56.

The European Parliament has called the website "deplorable" and pressed Premier Mark Rutte to distance himself from it.

The motion was tabled by the central-left D66 party.

"This is the first time the Dutch parliament has collectively spoken out about the website," Daan van Bonenkamp, D66's parliamentary spokesman, told AFP. "We have asked cabinet for a reaction."

The motion was backed by the Christian Democratic Alliance (CDA), a junior member of the ruling coalition, as well as by a breakaway PVV member.

Wilders criticised the CDA's vote as "inconsistent, a mistake".

Premier Rutte, whose majority in the 150-seat lower house requires support from the PVV's 23 lawmakers, has declined to condemn the site.

"The website is not of the Dutch government but of a political party," he has previously told journalists. "It's not up to me to react to a website of a specific political party."

© 2012 AFP

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