Dutch lawmaker Wilders in court on hate speech charges

Firebrand Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilder is appearing in a tightly guarded courtroom for the first public hearing in his politically-charged prosecution on hate speech charges.

The case against Wilders, who was acquitted in 2011 in a similar case, centers on a campaign meeting of his party in 2014 when he asked supporters whether they wanted more or fewer Moroccans in the Netherlands, drawing them into the chant "Fewer! Fewer! Fewer!"

"We'll take care of it," he promised.

Friday's hearing at a secure courtroom near Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport comes almost exactly a year before national elections are scheduled in the Netherlands. Wilders' populist, anti-Islam Freedom Party currently leads all polls.

Wilders' trial is scheduled to begin on Oct. 31.