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The Netherlands Shocked By Assassination

By Digital Journal Staff     May 7, 2002 in Technology
AMSTERDAM (voa) - The Dutch cabinet is set to hold a crisis meeting Tuesday after the assassination of far-right politician Pim Fortuyn. The government is also considering postponing general elections set for May 15.
Dutch police have arrested a suspect in the assassination of Mr. Fortuyn. Police say the suspect is a Dutch man between 30 and 35 years old, but they do not know his identity or his motives.
Mr. Fortuyn, known for his anti-immigration rhetoric and openly homosexual lifestyle, was gunned down Monday outside a radio station in Hilversum after giving an interview. During the interview, the politician spoke about receiving death threats, but said he would "live until he was eighty-seven." Shortly afterward, he was shot six times in the head, neck and chest by a lone gunman.
The 54-year-old former academic's fledgling party, "Lijst Fortuyn," won a majority of seats in local elections in his home city of Rotterdam in March, surprising the Dutch political establishment. The party was expected to make major gains in next week's national elections, with polls predicting it would capture around 15-percent of the vote.
The controversial politician called for Dutch borders to be shut to immigrants, and called Islam "a backward civilization." Mr. Fortuyn had said it was his destiny to become the Netherland's first openly gay prime minister.
Dutch politicians across the political spectrum have expressed shock at the murder and called off campaigning. Netherlands Prime Minister Wim Kok appealed for calm, and called the killing a tragedy for Mr. Fortuyn's loved ones and for Dutch democracy.
Riot police were called in late Monday to disperse hundreds of angry protesters in the Hague. Some of the demonstrators blamed the media for "demonizing" Mr. Fortuyn.
The United States says it shares the shock of its friends in the Netherlands after the murder. A State Department spokeswoman said the United States condemns the killing as a "senseless act of violence." British Prime Minister Tony Blair also expressed shock and canceled a visit to the Netherlands planned for Tuesday.
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