Saturday 17 August 2019

Politicians on all sides condemn ‘shoot Baudet’ chants at demonstration

Prime minister Mark Rutte has condemned a small group of demonstrators who chanted death threats against Forum for Democracy (FvD) leader Thierry Baudet during an anti-racism protest in Amsterdam at the weekend.

Footage emerged on social media of a black-clad woman chanting ‘If you want to gun down Thierry, just say bang!’, surrounded by a group of similarly dressed protesters walking behind a ‘refugees welcome’ banner.

Other people taking part in Saturday’s demonstration, which drew an estimated 10,000 people to the streets of the capital, denounced the chant. One man walking nearby said: ‘I think it’s going much too far. It detracts from the quality and the value of the demonstration.’

Speaking to the Telegraaf newspaper, Rutte called for people to show tolerance and respect. ‘Democracy isn’t a simple thing, but a precious asset. We all need to protect it together,’ he said.

Other politicians also condemned the statement, including Labour (PvdA) leader Lodewijk Asscher, justice minister Ferd Grapperhaus and PVV leader Geert Wilders. Gert-Jan Segers, leader of the smallest coalition party, the Christian Union (CU) said: ‘It’s bizarre that these people combine an unbounded love of refugees with a deadly hatred of political opponents.’

Police would not say if they had received formal complaints about the chanting, but the makers of the film, the right-leaning Up!Network, said they had reported ‘five or six’ people who tried to stop them filming.

10,000 demonstrators

The rise of the FvD in last week’s provincial elections was a focal point of Saturday’s demonstration, an annual event organised by the March 21 Committee. The size of the crowd was estimated to be four times larger than the number that turned out a year ago.

Organiser Ewoud van den Berg, sporting a FCK FVD jumper, told the demonstrators in Dam Square: ‘We’ve seen in Christchurch where these ideas can lead. We must take our campaign to wherever Forum for Democracy comes together.’

Green-Left alderman Rutger Groot Wassink, speaking at the Dock Worker statue erected as a memorial to the February strike against the Nazi occupation, said: ‘We must fight against hatred, intolerance, racism and discrimination in all its forms. Today is a new beginning for unity. However dark things become, the forces of moderation will win.’

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