News24

Protests at anti-Islam film

2010-03-05 18:16

London - Several hundred protestors rallied outside Britain's parliament on Friday as far-right Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders visited the city to screen his controversial anti-Islam film.

Demonstrators waved banners including one with a crossed-out swastika and the slogan "racists not welcome" as Wilders - buoyed by an election win this week - brought his film Fitna to the House of Lords.

"I am very wary of Wilders' visit being hijacked for a racist agenda," said one 25-year-old protestor from London, who did not want to give his name, as protestors blocked off a road outside parliament in central London.

Wilders was refused entry when he first tried to show the film in Britain last February, but his travel ban was overturned and he made a first visit in October, before scheduling the screening of his film.

Fitna, which likens Islam to Nazism and juxtaposes images of the September 11 2001 attacks on the United States with pictures of the Koran, has been described as "offensively anti-Islamic" by UN chief Ban Ki-moon.

Wilders' trip to London was hosted by Lord Malcolm Pearson, a member of parliament's upper House of Lords who invited him for the first abortive visit and the subsequent successful trip.

The visit came days after the 46-year-old leader of the Party for Freedom (PVV) - who has compared the Koran to Hitler's Mein Kampf - scored a symbolic election victory in the Netherlands.

Wilders' party this week celebrated winning its first municipality, Almere, a city of nearly 190 000 people near Amsterdam - in a show of strength ahead of general elections in June.