Far-right Dutch MP attacks 'Moroccan scum'

Geert Wilders, who has promised to ban the Koran and close mosques if he wins the election, was convicted of discrimination in December over previous comments

Far-right Dutch MP attacks 'Moroccan scum'

Image: Peter Dejong AP/Press Association Images

Dutch MP Geert Wilders has launched his campaign for Holland's top job with an attack on the country's Moroccans.

The far-right and anti-Islam politician has been leading opinion polls ahead of the parliamentary elections on 15 March, which is seen as a test for European politics following the Brexit vote and Donald Trump's victory in the US.

"The Moroccan scum in Holland ... once again not all are scum ... but there is a lot of Moroccan scum in Holland who make the streets unsafe, mostly young people... and that should change," Mr Wilders said.

He added that people should vote for his Freedom Party "if you want to regain your country, if you want to make

The Netherlands for the people of The Netherlands, your own home again".

Mr Wilders was speaking in the blue-collar town of Spijkenisse, not far from Europe's largest port of Rotterdam.

He was surrounded by police and followed by a small group of protesters and supporters, along with a large group of reporters.

"Please, make The Netherlands ours again," said the far-right politician, as a small group of supporters cheered in the background.

Mr Wilders, who has promised to ban the Koran and close mosques if he wins the election, was convicted of discrimination in December over previous comments about Moroccans.

But his views have found some support among those who worry about immigration and terrorist attacks in Europe.

The most recent polls show his party winning between 24 and 28 seats in the 150-seat lower house of parliament.

They currently have 12 seats.

This would put him two to four seats ahead of prime minister Mark Rutte's ruling VVD party.

Should Mr Wilders' party win the elections, they would likely need coalition partners to rule but that will be "difficult", as Martin Bosma, his right-hand man and fellow politician told AFP.

Many of the major parties have refused to work with Mr Wilders and his party following his comments and conviction.

Mr Wilders has also previously talked of taking the Netherlands out of the European Union.

In an interview with Spiegel Online last July, he said: "We'd finally get our national sovereignty back, as well as our autonomy in matters of monetary and immigration policy - just like Switzerland.

"That's my favorite example: a country in the heart of Europe, that even has individual trade agreements with China and Japan.

"Look at why the British wanted this exit.

"Politicians like Prime Minister David Cameron have lost all sense of reality.

"The people have seen how billions were spent on Greece and Turkey, on deals with (Turkish president) Erdogan or for asylum seekers."