13 Feb 2009

Wilders Arrested and Deported From Heathrow

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The London Times:

The day had started with the Dutch MP determined to test the Government’s entry ban after it was decided that he should not be allowed to attend a screening of Fitna at the House of Lords last night.

Mr Wilders, 45, caught a British Midland flight from Amsterdam brandishing his passport. He said that he would have to be physically restrained from entering the country. “I’ll see what happens at the border. Let them put me in handcuffs,” he said.

Once in the air he called the British Government Europe’s biggest cowards and told The Times: “It is easy to invite people you agree with. It is more difficult to invite people you disagree with.

“I am going to Great Britain because I was invited by another politician [the UKIP peer Lord Pearson of Rannoch]. I am a democrat. I am serving freedom of speech. They are not only being nasty to me, they are being nasty to freedom of speech. They are more Chamberlain than Churchill.”

The aircraft landed at 2pm but before they could disembark, Mr Wilders and his entourage were confronted by two plain-clothes UK Border Agency guards. Towering over them, the Dutch MP and his two minders offered no resistance and were escorted through passport control into a holding room.

During the long walk along the airport’s corridors, one of his bodyguards asked the officers to relax their grip on the MP. But they kept a tight hold on him as they walked, surrounded by a gaggle of journalists and cameramen. …

The MP had been invited to attend a showing of his 17-minute film at the House of Lords by Lord Pearson. The film features verses from the Koran with images of terrorist attacks in New York, London and Madrid, and calls on Muslims to remove “hate-preaching” verses from the text. Lord Pearson said that the screening would go ahead regardless.

The decision to refuse Mr Wilders entry provoked Maxime Verhagen, the Dutch Foreign Minister, to call David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, to protest against the decision. “The fact that a Dutch parliamentarian is refused entry to another EU country is highly regrettable,” Mr Verhagen said.

The Home Office said: “The Government opposes extremism in all its forms. It will stop those who want to spread extremism, hatred and violent messages in our communities from coming to our country.”

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Earlier posting.

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