AMSTERDAM – The politically charged hate-speech trial of Dutch firebrand anti-Islam lawmaker Geert Wilders is set to start, with Wilders boycotting the opening.
The leader of the populist Freedom Party is charged with insulting a group based on race, and inciting hatred and discrimination.
Wilders denies any wrongdoing, saying in a statement last week that "it is my right and my duty as a politician to speak about the problems in our country."
The trial starting Monday and scheduled to last more than three weeks centers on comments Wilders made before and after 2014 Dutch municipal elections. At one meeting he asked supporters whether they wanted more or fewer Moroccans in the Netherlands, sparking a chant of "Fewer! Fewer! Fewer!"
"We'll take care of it," he replied.