PERTH, Australia (AFP) – Dutch far-right politician Geert Wilders was Wednesday met by protesters as he helped launch a new political party in Perth, the Australian Liberty Alliance.
The Dutch firebrand and eurosceptic, who was controversially granted a visa, said the new party was modelled on his own Freedom Party in opposing “the Islamisation process”.
The secular Australian Liberty Alliance was set up by the Q Society of Australia, a volunteer-run anti-Islam lobby group established in Victoria state in 2010. The size of its membership is not known.
“Elsewhere in Europe, like minded parties, such as in Austria, Sweden, France and even Switzerland, have become big parties as well,” he said after braving a small but vocal group of protesters chanting “say it loud, say it clear, racists are not welcome here”.
“Everywhere in Europe the people, not the political elite, not the governments, are saying enough is enough,” added Wilders, who was invited by the party to attend the launch in Perth.
“Let us reclaim our countries. Stop the mass immigration from Islamic countries. We say no more to the governments and the Islamisation process.”
The party endorsed upper house Senate candidates for Western Australia, New South Wales and Queensland states to challenge in the 2016 federal election as it looks to cash in on more vocal anti-Islam sentiment sparked by a series of attacks by radicalised youth.
West Australian Premier Colin Barnett banned state-owned venues from hosting Wilders, who has been barred from entering other countries because of his anti-Islamic stance.
“I do not support him and I do not support the things he says,” Barnett told ABC radio.
“However, I do recognise the right to free speech. He can say what he wishes to but he will not have any support from the West Australian government at all.”
Wilders is often reviled for his fiery rhetoric, but his Freedom Party continues to ride high in opinion polls in the Netherlands amid the European refugee crisis.