On March 19, addressing supporters in The Hague after a local election, Geert Wilders, head of the Freedom Party (PVV), asked if they wanted more or less of the European Union. "Less!" they shouted. Did they want more or less of the Labor Party? "Less!" they repeated. Then he asked, "Do you want, in this city and in the Netherlands, more or fewer Moroccans?"
That last line caused a firestorm. Major politicians compared Wilders to Hitler. Prime Minister Mark Rutte demanded he apologize. The Freedom Party's leader in the European Parliament, Laurence Stassen, quit the party, as did many local and regional officials. (Commentator Tom-Jan Meeus maintained in NRC Handelsblad that Wilders "has lost his closest allies, his best member of parliament and his European assembly member.") The Labor Party announced that it wouldn't support any Freedom Party motion in Parliament. Hundreds of police complaints were reportedly filed against Wilders, and police, according to Soeren Kern, made it easier to file them "by providing pre-filled 'Wilders forms' and offering to come to people's homes if they intend to press criminal charges, rather than having them come to the police station, as is the normal procedure." A Facebook page for people filing police complaints against Wilders gathered nearly 100,000 "likes." The new U.S. ambassador, Timothy Broas, stated that Wilders's remarks were at odds with Dutch and American values. The Freedom Party fell in the polls from the largest to the third largest Dutch party. "Schools," wrote Kern, "began to issue guidelines to instruct pupils on how to deal with Wilders." In Amsterdam, 5,000 people demonstrated against Wilders and the mayor led a chant of "We are all Moroccans!" Dutch TV aired "a church service against Wilders." An actor named Thijs Römer, in a reference to the murderer of Fortuyn, Volkert van der Graaf, tweeted: "Volkert, where are you when your country needs you?"