Labour politician called 'black monkey' during election campaign

Ugbaad Kilincci
Ugbaad Kilincci. Photo: @UgbaadKilincci / Twitter

Ugbaad Kilincci, a PvdA candidate councilor in Emmen, was faced with racism while campaigning in the Drenthe town on Saturday. She was called, among other things, a "ragged-head moron", a "black monkey", and told to "go back to Africa", RTL Nieuws reports.

"I am mostly sad and I find it horrible that this is still happening in our society", the 30-year-old aspiring politician said to the broadcaster. "I specifically decided to make myself available for election because I want to be there for all people. Muslim, Jew, homosexuals, heterosexual, none of that matters for me. So being dismissed like that hurts."

Kilincci eventually decided to go home on Saturday instead of finishing the campaign. But she is not putting her political ambitions aside. "This just makes me want to fight more, because I want to make the opposite side heard. To show that we in the Netherlands stand for each other and with each other and that we should not dismiss each other on the basis of religion or origin."

Various politicians expressed support for Kilincci. "This makes me furious: 'Ragged-head moron". To someone who wants to work for your municipality. Humiliated to tears. We have to stop this. Stand up for each other. Continue to see each other as a person", PvdA leader Lodewijk Asscher said on Twitter. PvdA parliamentarian Sharon Dijksma also expressed her support on Twitter: "This is really unheard of. What a shame! Chin up Ugbaad, we support you!!"

"Really horrible how Ugbaad Kilincci was treated this weekend in Emmen. I have never seen anything like this in my political career", Emmen mayor Eric van Oosterhout said to Dagblad van het Noorden. "When I was informed about this, I immediately contacted Ugbaad. I let her know that we in Emmen stand around her. She indicated that she already received many statements of support and that she really appreciates it."

Carmen Hoogeveen, D66 leader in Emmen, called what happened to Kilincci "deeply, deeply sad", according to the newspaper. Rene van der Weide, alderman and leader of Wakker Emmen, fully agrees "This is very personal and shows a complete lack of respect. It has nothing to do with content. I understand very well that this affects her."

"One of our seven spearheads is to counter polarization", CDA leader in Emmen Auke Oldenbeuving said to DVHN. "Not superfluous, as it turns out. It is outrageous what happened. Harry Leutscher, leader of party LEF!, speaks of "completely unacceptable behavior."

Kilincci appreciates all the support. "That gives me a lot of courage", she said to RTL. "I am really grateful that there are people who support me and who see that this can no longer be allowed and that this needs to be discussed." She realizes that she is not the only one to face such racism in the Netherlands. According to her, it is important to 'just' continue and not to let the insults affect you too much, however difficult that may be. "Rise above it", she said. "It's very difficult. I know that, [Saturday] it hit close to home. But try. Live your life and enjoy it. As far as I'm concerned, people like these do not deserve a podium."

She will not press charges, Kilincci said to Dagblad van het Noorden. "That does not make a lot of sense. I don't know the people who did this."

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