Nearly 6,500 people pressed hate-speech charges against Wilders

Geert Wilders
Geert Wilders

A total of 6,474 people pressed charges against PVV leader Geert Wilders after he made statements about "fewer Moroccans" while campaigning in The Hague in 2014, was revealed in the high security court at Schiphol on Monday. This is the first day of the 12-day long hate-speech trial against the PVV leader.

Wilders is facing various hate-speech charges surrounding statements he made on March 12th and 19th, 2014. In an interview he gave on the market he said: "Most important is surely the people here on the market (...) We are doing it for these people. They vote for a safer and more social and at least a city with fewer burdens and if possoible some fewer Moroccans." Then a few days later, in a PVV meeting at a cafe in the city, Wilders said: "I ask you, do you want in this city and in the Netherlands more or fewer Moroccans?" The crowd in the cafe responded by chanting "fewer, fewer, fewer" and Wilders said: "Then we will arrange it."

On Monday the court listened to how thousands of people filed charges against Wilders following these statements. Many of the statements were pre-printed general statements of anger about discrimination and insult, the Telegraaf reports. For example, the mayor and aldermen of Nijmegen organized a march to call people to report their grievances to the police. Some were summoned to the mosque to report their grievance. Others went in groups with someone to help them.

Many police forces used standard forms in which the person pressing charges only have to fill out their name and some other specifics, because it was impossible to take every person's statement personally. The police in Zeeland/Midden-West-Brabant were concerned for some time that the regular reporting system would overload. 

The court took all these chrges and statements to the magistrate to get a ful view of the people involved and their grievances. A number of people stated they no longer feel welcome in the Nehterlands, despite being born here. Others felt "pushed into a cuorner", "excluded as a pariah" or had to deal with people shouting "fewer, fewer, fewer" at them on the street. One person asked what would have happened if Wilders made the same statements about Jews.

The court put 12 days aside for this trial, spread over three weeks. Wilders himself is not present at the trial, calling it a "political process"against freedom of expression. 

"Netherlands has a huge problem with Moroccans. TO be silent about it is cowardly", Wilders said on Twitter this morning. "43% of Dutch want fewer Moroccans. No verdict will change that."