Wilders: Support in Berlin, call for exclusion in the Netherlands

Wilders: Support in Berlin, call for exclusion in the Netherlands

Wilders-buttons, his portrait on a banner and many protest signs against Islam: Saturday afternoon it seemed that the Dutch PVV party moved its elections campaign to Berlin.  The protest with the motto "freedom of speech is a basic right - solidarity with Wilders' did not really get off the ground.

Less than 80 people gathered in the side-street across from the Dutch embassy. They support Geert Wilders, whom they say is a victim of the political 'show-process'.

Organizer Stefan Herre of the rightist-populist blog 'Politically Incorrect' could barely hide his disappointment - beforehand they spoke of 500 demonstrators.  "Maybe our readers prefer sitting behind the computer rather than going out into the streets."

A number of demonstrators covered their shoulders with an Israeli flag.  One man carried a German tricolor, with a Star of David sewn on it.  Whoever expected bare-headed Neo-Nazis  in this anti-Islam protest, was disappointed.  "Look at me.  I am not a member of a party.  We are democrats who support Wilders," says Nico Herrlich. The young man, who looks like an ideal son-in-law, holds a protest sign: 'Criticism of Islam is not racism'.  His neighbor went for irony: 'Promote integration.  Free bear for Islamists'.

A group of police-agents look on from the side.  There's no counter-demonstration.  The atmosphere remain calm, also when a couple of critical Dutch students start up a discussion with the public, meanwhile handing out white and brown 'Negro kisses'.

On the stage, René Stadtkewitz, a dissidnet Christian Democrat politician, says it's a 'scandal' that the Dutch courts are 'yet granting victory to the murderers of Theo Van Gogh' with the lawsuit against Wilders.  But where is the beloved leader himself?

Organizer Stefan Herre shrugs.  "Naturally we would have liked to read something of a personal message from Wilders."  Despite multiple attempts, the German Wilders fans didn't get a response from their idol.  Herre plays it down with a laugh: Wilders is just difficult to reach.


A former leader of the Dutch Christian Democrats, 87-year-old Willem Aantjes, has called on his party to rule out coalition talks with the extreme right Freedom Party.

Mr Aantjes says the party, led by anti-Islam MP Geert Wilders, is undemocratic and not fit to be in a coalition government with the Christian Democrats. The Freedom Party has no members and is accountable to nobody, according to Mr Aantjes.

The former leader wants the congress of his party to discuss the issue next week. If it is not put on the agenda, and if the Christian Democrats do not rule out talks with the Freedom Party, Mr Aantjes said he would vote for the Christian Union party instead in the 9 June general election.


Sources: AD (Dutch), RNW (English)

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