Right-wing politician killed outside radio station

HILVERSUM, Netherlands -- In the first assassination in modern Dutch history, a lone gunman shot far-right leader Pim Fortuyn on Monday, nine days before elections expected to catapult his anti-immigration party into a position of national power.

Fortuyn, 54, a former academic and columnist who led an openly gay lifestyle, was shot six times in the head, neck and chest as he left a radio interview.

Police said they arrested a suspect whom they described as a "white man of Dutch nationality," but had not established an identity or a motive. Prosecutor Theo Hofstee said the suspect refused to talk, and will be arraigned within days.

"After this assassination, Pim Fortuyn is no more," said outgoing Prime Minister Wim Kok in The Hague.

Police clashed with hundreds of Fortuyn supporters near Parliament while the Cabinet held talks on postponing May 15 elections. Protesters smashed shop windows and at least two cars were set on fire in a parking garage under government offices. Police in riot gear and with dogs dispersed crowds with water cannons, and detained several rioters.

Fortuyn had expressed fears for his safety after protesters threw two cream pies laced with urine in his face a few weeks ago. But minutes before his death, he responded to a question by the 3FM radio station in Hilversum, 12 miles southeast of Amsterdam, on how old he would live: "I'm not going to die soon. I'm going to live to be 87."

Comments