Four party leaders violently threatened as asylum debate continues

Alexander Pechtold (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Pepijn Leupen - D66)Alexander Pechtold (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Pepijn Leupen - D66)

VVD leader Halbe Zijlstra is not the only party leader to receive threats in connection with the asylum debate. CDA leader Sybrand Buma, D66 leader Alexander and GroenLinks leader Jesse Klaver also recently received threats.

The party leaders confirmed this on Nieuwsuur on Thursday.

Pechtold fears that revealing the details of the threats will lead to copycat behavior. He did say that he reported the threats to the police. CDA leader Buma also did not want to go into details, saying that it is not so interesting when it happens to yourself.

Klaver stated that threats to municipal councilors and aldermen are more violent. Local politicians in some municipalities that are planning refugee shelters have received threatening letters, emails or had their belongings destroyed. Most recently Harold Halewijn, the GroenLinks leader in Wormerland, had both his cars set alight. Before that the Mayor of Rijssen Holten was threatened as well as at least to council members in Rijswijk. "There it is a lot more intense", Klaver said. "For us it is much more anonymous."

On Tuesday almost all the political leaders made a joint call on the Dutch population to keep a cool head during the asylum debate. They asked that voters show more mutual understanding and tolerance. “Our call on everyone who wants to have his voice heard: do not confuse threats and insults with arguments. Let each other speak, even though you disagree terribly with each other. And stay away from our representatives, who work day in day out for the benefit of their community. We disagree about a lot of things, but on this we agree: in the Netherlands we have a debate without threats, intimidation and violence.” the leaders wrote in the public letter."