AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Dutch politician Geert Wilders said on Friday his conviction for insulting Moroccans and inciting discrimination against them was an attempt to silence him before a national election in March that would fail.
Wilders was convicted over a televised 2014 incident in which he led supporters in chanting that they wanted “Fewer! Fewer! Fewer!” Moroccans in the Netherlands.
In a videotaped response to the verdict, which he did not attend in person, Wilders said: “I will never be silenced”. He said the ruling was an attempt to “neutralize the leader (himself) of the largest and most popular opposition party in the Netherlands”.
Wilders’ Freedom Party leads Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s conservative VVD party in some polls ahead of a national parliamentary election scheduled for March 15.
Reporting by Toby Sterling; Editing by Gareth Jones