National leader of the PVV (Partij voor de Vrijheid; the Freedom Party), Geert Wilders, will visit Emmen on Friday. Dagblad van het Noorden reports that Wilders will be in the city centre distributing flyers in the early afternoon.
UPDATE (10:01 a.m., 6 March)
Emmen mayor Eric van Oosterhout has conditionally granted AFA Noord permission to hold a demonstration against the PVV in the city. Van Oosterhout affirms that the group has the right to protest, “but I absolutely don’t want to see any altercations between the two sides. I will be in talks with [AFA Noord] to set the terms for their demonstration. I won’t permit them to protest in the immediate vicinity of Wilders’ route.”
UPDATE (12:39 p.m., 5 March)
Wilders’ planned visit is already prompting a response: the anti-fascism activist group AFA Noord has stated they will also be present while Wilders is in town. AFA Noord opposes the Islamophobic and xenophobic platform of the PVV.
Emmen is the only municipality in the province of Drenthe where the PVV is participating in the upcoming municipal elections this month. During parliamentary elections last year, the PVV won the most votes in Emmen: nearly one in five people voted for Wilders’ party.
There are seven PVV candidates on the list for the municipal council elections: 35-year-old Tom Kuilder is the top PVV candidate for Emmen.