MPs: Wilders needs to denounce xenophobic violence

Geert Wilders Purmerend borders closed
Geert Wilders in Purmerend handing out flyers against the opening of an asylum reception center there. Oct. 6, 2015 (photo: PVV). (Geert Wilders in Purmerend handing out flyers against the opening of an asylum reception center there. Oct. 6, 2015 (photo: PVV))

PVV leader Geert Wilders' political colleagues think that he should denounce violence in the asylum debate. The PVV leader regularly calls for resistance against the arrival of asylum seekers or centers. And this often turns into violence.

Last week Wilders tweeted: "No asylum center in Geldermalsen! #kominverzent". "Kom in verzet" roughly translates to "rebel against". And that is exactly what happened. The asylum debate in the Gelderland town had to be cut short after protesters tried to storm the town hall.

On Thursday the home of a Somalian family in Pannerden was pelted with fireworks. According to the Volkskrant, the perpetrators left a pamphlet behind that showed a picture of Wilders and the words "Immigrants must go! This is just the beginning!"

In October Wilders signed a letter with most of the other party leaders calling for calm during the asylum debate. And a single day later, he announced that he will be protesting in Rotterdam against the arrival of an asylum center in Beverwaard.

ChristenUnie leader Gert-Jan Segers condemned Wilders for remaining silent after the Geldermalsen riots in the radio program Tros Kemerbreed on Saturday. "His words have meaning", Segers said. "If you call the parliament a fraudulent parliament, call judges biased and call for rebellion, then you should also show responsibility and make clear that a protest must always be peaceful."

On Thursday the PVV was the only parliamentary faction to vote against a debate on what happened in Geldermalsen. According to Deputy Prime Minister Lodewijk Asscher, PvdA, Wilders wasted an opportunity to condemn violence in the asylum debate by voting against the debate. "I did not see him condemn it. It would have been good if he did", Asscher said to broadcaster NOS, calling Wilders a "merchant of fear". "Rather than seek solutions, he exploits people's fears."

PvdA parliamentarian Attje Kuiken adds to Asscher's words. "In the debate after Paris Wilders asked Muslims to distance themselves from the ISIS terrorism, then I also expect from him to distance himself from violence and racism in the Netherlands. No he is not responsible for the idiots who use violence, but he mus distance himself from it", the MP said to the Volkskrant.

SP MP Sharon Gesthuizen expressed similar sentiments to the newspaper. She does not believe that Wilders is intentionally trying to "provoke a battle", but he is deliberately sowing discord. He constantly plays people against each other. Ten years of anti-migrants PVV propaganda which is finally paying off." she said to the newspaper, adding that he is not personally responsible for the violence, but his statements and lack thereof also does not help prevent it.