May 31, 2019 / 10:54 AM / 3 months ago

UPDATE 1-Dutch anti-Islam lawmaker Wilders says Twitter blocks his account

(Updates with details)

AMSTERDAM, May 31 (Reuters) - Dutch far-right politician and anti-Islam campaigner Geert Wilders said on Friday that Twitter had temporarily blocked his account following remarks he made about a political rival.

Wilders, who cannot easily appear in public due to threats against him by Islamists, relies heavily on Twitter to communicate with his supporters. He has 811,000 followers, second only to Prime Minister Mark Rutte among Dutch politicians.

"Twitter often tolerates death threats against me, but not a factual tweet by me about a colleague. Madness!," he said in a statement.

Twitter could not immediately be reached for comment. A spokesman for Wilders' Freedom Party sent a screenshot of his account showing the ban, which was due to expire in around eight hours.

The tweet that led to Wilders' block referred to D-66, a progressive centre-left party as "suckers ...who import ever more Islam and then weep crocodile tears over the consequences, such as honour killings."

Wilders is currently appealing a 2016 conviction for inciting discrimination for an incident in which he led followers in chanting they wanted "fewer! fewer! fewer" Moroccans in the Netherlands. (Reporting by Toby Sterling; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky and John Stonestreet)

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