Politician subjected to racial abuse pressing charges

Sylvana Simons is pressing charges against "the deluge of racist, sexist and discriminatory comments" directed at her after she joined political party DENK, she said in a statement the party released on Tuesday. By pressing charges, she wants to make clear that something "demonstrably wrong may never go unpunished" and that "fighting injustice begins with reporting it".

According to Simons, it is "time for our society to realize that a clear red line is being drawn: perpetrators of discrimination sexism and racism will be reported, found and punished."

Simons decided to join DENK - a political party formed by former PvdA parliamentarians Tunahan Kuzu and Selcuk Ozturk - earlier this month. She hopes to get into the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, in the next elections scheduled for March 2017. This decision was met with a stream of racist comments and reactions, primarily on social media.

The new politician hopes that the commotion surrounding these comments will lead to a bigger discussion about racism. "The reactions expressed in my direction are typical examples of what many men, women, Muslims, Jews, ethnic minorities, migrants, people with disabilities, elderly people and gay people experience day in and day out on the job market, at school or on the street", she said in the statement. "It is of the utmost importance that this climate of intolerance is challenged. I will fight for that with all my might."