Dutch elections: Geert Wilders brands pro-Turkey rioters 'scum'

Adam Arnold, News Reporter

On the eve of Dutch elections, Geert Wilders has branded people who rioted during a protest outside Rotterdam's Turkish consulate "scum".

The far-right politician's anti-Islam, anti-immigrant PVV party could be in the top two or three in terms of share of the vote but recent polling suggests his support is slipping.

At the final TV debate before voting begins, Mr Wilders also described as "rubbish" the Labour Party's slogan "the Netherlands belongs to us all" and insisted "the Netherlands does not belong to all of us".

:: Who is Geert Wilders?

Over the weekend, police used water cannon, horses and dogs to break up the pro-Turkey demonstration attended by hundreds as some activists threw bottles and stones.

The protest came after two Turkish ministers were stopped from campaigning in the Netherlands in favour of giving Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan more powers in a referendum.

Mr Erdogan criticised the Dutch government's decision, branding the fellow NATO member "Nazi remnants" and also accused it of "fascism".

The dispute escalated as Turkey's family minister Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya was prevented by police from entering the Turkish consulate in the city.

An ensuing war of words between Ankara and The Hague has become increasingly bitter, with the 1995 Srebrenica massacre even brought into the row.

Mr Erdogan blamed a Dutch battalion of UN peacekeepers for failing to halt the killing of 8,000 Muslim men and boys by Bosnian Serb forces.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte told Sky News the president's comments were "completely unacceptable", a "re-writing of history" and he was "behaving increasingly hysterical".

Mr Rutte also criticised his comments that the Dutch have "rotten character".

Around 400,000 people with ties to Turkey live in the Netherlands and in next month's referendum Mr Erdogan is trying to boost his powers following a failed coup attempt last year.

:: Dutch election: How do you choose between 28 parties?

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