Populist Baudet says he was "too quick" to accuse "Moroccans" of harassment; Repeatedly calls them “intimidating”
FvD leader Thierry Baudet said that he was "too quick, and too firm" with posts on social media on Friday, in which he said that "Moroccans" were harassing two female passengers on a train. The "Moroccans" turned out to be NS employees and a police officer in civilian clothing, checking the two women's tickets. The police are looking into whether they will press charges against the populist politician, a spokesperson for the National Unit said to RTL Nieuws.
On Friday, Baudet posted on Instagram and Twitter that "two dear friends were seriously harassed by four Moroccans on a train" between Weesp and Amsterdam. His posts quickly garnered responses from others on the train, saying that Baudet's version of events is not what happened. NS also quickly confirmed that the people involved were NS employees and a police officer checking tickets in civilian clothing - a common tactic used by the rail company to catch people riding without a ticket.
Baudet stopped well short of an apology when he finally responded to the uproar on Facebook on Monday, repeatedly accusing the NS workers and the police officer of acting in an "intimidating" way. He said that the two women were "seriously upset" when they told him what happened and that "touched" him. "I then expressed myself on social media - too quickly, and too firmly. In doing so, I drew the issue into a broader political context: the context of the consequences of mass immigration, integration problems, and the lack of security that many Dutch people see and experience every day."
According to Baudet, the women did not believe that the men talking to them were NS inspectors, because the IDs they were shown differed in format and the types of fonts used on the identification cards. "They indicated to me that openly and repeatedly weaponry was shown, that there was intimidating verbal and non-verbal behavior," he said on Facebook. "Even after they presented valid tickets, the group of men stayed around them for the rest of the journey, in a way that was intimidating to the women."
NS again responded to Baudet's statements. On Twitter the rail company pointed out that its inspectors do not carry weapons. "A police officer in civilian clothing was later called in. Officers are authorized to carry a weapon," NS said. In a statement to NOS, the rail company said: "We stand behind the actions of our colleagues and the police officer involved."
Baudet ended his statement on Facebook saying that he "of course did not want to accuse anyone who is not to blame".
He added, "I have also let NS know this."
As a police officer was involved in this "incident", the police are considering pressing charges against Baudet over his tweet, a spokesperson for the National Unit said to RTL Nieuws. We are going to look into whether there was a criminal offense and we are investigating whether we can press charges."