Dutch court to rule on Geert Wilders racial incitement conviction

A Dutch appeals court will decide on Friday whether to overturn the racial incitement conviction of Geert Wilders, the far-right populist party chief who led supporters in chanting that they wanted fewer Moroccans in the Netherlands, news wires reported. Wilders, whose Freedom Party has at times topped national opinion polls, argues he did nothing wrong, and merely expressed openly what many Dutch people think.

The trial of Wilders, one of Europe's most prominent far-right leaders, has been seen as pitting the rights of freedom of speech against the right of ethnic and religious minorities not to suffer verbal abuse and discrimination. He was convicted in 2016 of inciting discrimination at a 2014 campaign rally, in which he led supporters in asking whether they wanted more or fewer Moroccans in the country.

"Fewer! Fewer! Fewer!" his supporters chanted. "We're going to take care of that," said the smiling Wilders. Trial judges said Wilders had planned the remarks ahead of time knowing they would be inflammatory and insulting to the 400,000 people of Moroccan ancestry in the Netherlands.

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