MP and anti-Islam campaigner Geert Wilders will hear later on Friday whether or not he has been found guilty of inciting racial hatred and discrimination.
The public prosecution department says Wilders should be fined €5,000 for leading his supporters in an anti-Moroccan chant during a post election meeting in 2014.
During a post vote meeting with supporters in The Hague, Wilders asked the crowd ‘and do you want more or fewer Moroccans in your city and in the Netherlands?’ To which the crowd chanted ‘fewer, fewer, fewer’. ‘We’ll arrange that,’ Wilders said, smiling, when the chanting died down.
The verdict comes three months before the March general elections. Wilders’ PVV party is currently leading in several opinion polls, after losing support over the past few months.
Political analysts say the trial, which he refused to attend until the last day, has boosted his popularity. Wilders used his right of reply on the last day to say the trial is a political one. ‘If they want to silence me, they will have to kill me first,’ he said.
If convicted, Wilders ‘will be able to play the victim of the regime and the establishment,’ Andre Krowel of the VU University in Amsterdam told AFP.
‘The worst thing that can happen is for him to lose this publicity,’ said Joost van Spanje of Amsterdam University. ‘Either way, for him it is a win win situation.’
Sociologist Koen Damhuis told the NRC that Wilders’ supporters are furious he has been taken to court. ‘They see it has the ultimate proof of just how low we have sunk in the Netherlands,’ he said. ‘They won’t drop Wilders if he is convicted, and many of them think he should be given a statue.’
Thank you for donating to DutchNews.nl.
We could not provide the Dutch News service, and keep it free of charge, without the generous support of our readers. Your donations allow us to report on issues you tell us matter, and provide you with a summary of the most important Dutch news each day.Make a donation