Netherlands - A political party formed by Dutch paedophiles tried on Friday to win more support for its campaign to legalise sex with children so it can run in national elections in November.
The Brotherly Love, Freedom and Diversity party (PNVD) was launched in May and its campaign for a cut in the age of consent from 16 to 12 and the legalisation of child pornography and sex with animals has provoked widespread outrage in the Netherlands.
Party officials said they had gathered over 100 signatures so far but needed to collect several hundred more in the next month to be allowed to run in the November 22 general election.
"We think the child should have the freedom to engage in these contacts with peers or with adults, if and when they choose so," party chairperson Marthijn Uittenbogaard told a news conference in the parliamentary press centre in The Hague.
"What we think is really going on is that people are afraid of the emancipation of children. It is the adults who do not allow the child to have these contacts," he said, adding that research showed children found unforced sex positive or neutral.
The PNVD says it wants to lift the taboo on paedophilia which it said had intensified since the 1996 Marc Dutroux child abuse scandal in neighbouring Belgium.
Party secretary Norbert de Jonge said society was too "sex-negative".
In July, a Dutch court rejected a bid by a children's rights group to have the party banned, saying it was protected by democratic freedoms and judges could not take lightly a decision to ban a political party.
The Netherlands, which already has liberal policies on soft drugs, prostitution and gay marriage, has been shocked by the new party.
An opinion poll showed that 82 percent want the government to do something to stop the party.
Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner has said he found the party's ideas repugnant and the government would monitor it closely in case it committed an offence or incited others to do so, but said its fate should lie in the hands of voters.