Netherlands: 5 000 people sue Wilders over anti-Moroccan remarks
More than 5 000 people in the Netherlands have filed a lawsuit against the head of the ultra-right in the Dutch Parliament, MP Geert Wilders (Party for Freedom), over statements he made in March during a meeting with voters where he said the would endeavor to reduce the number of Moroccan immigrants to the country. The plaintiffs say he has committed discrimination against them.
Reuters reports that the prosecuting attorneys involved announced the lawsuits today. "Fewer, fewer, fewer!" chanted followers of Wilders in the Hague on 19 March when he asked the crowd whether they wanted more Moroccans in their city.
"I'll take care of it," the Party for Freedom chair, who has previously engaged in provocative diatribes against Islam and Muslims, promised the crowd. He has now become the target of an unprecedented wave of criticism and lawsuits in the country for those remarks.
Several eminent members of the Party for Freedom have since left its ranks. One is the former leader of the party club at the European Parliament, Laurence Stassen.
"I could no longer stay in that post after [Wilders'] remarks," Stassen explained. Public opinion polls in the Netherlands conducted prior to the incident had predicted that the Party for Freedom might become the most successful Dutch party in the May elections to the European Parliament.
After the sensation caused by Wilders' invective against inhabitants of Moroccan origin, of whom there are around 370 000 in the Netherlands, the party will probably lose some voters now. Wilders' remarks about Moroccans were condemned by the Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Mark Rutte, and by many other politicians.
"Wilders really crossed the line and should be ashamed of himself," reads an open letter on the issue from the management of the private television station RTL, but the boss of the ultra-right has rejected all criticism. "I said nothing bad, I regret nothing, and I will not apologize to anyone for anything," Reuters reports the controversial politician as stating recently.
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