Pegida in the Netherlands
They’ve already earned quite a reputation over the passed years, Pegida, the anti-Islam and anti-immigrant organization originating in Germany. Though Pegida in the Netherlands is relatively small it has added another feat to its fresh resume, and they might get sued for it.
Cross Painted in Blood – Enschede Looking Into Legal Action.
Early Sunday morning a group of fourteen Pegida-protesters entered the building site of a new mosque in the eastern border town of Enschede. Going by video clips uploaded by the group itself on popular social media platforms Twitter and Facebook the group then erected a wooden cross – painting it blood red, literally as it appears to actually be pork blood. The symbolism being obvious, a cross representing Christianity and western tradition and pig’s being unclean (Haram) in Islam – let alone their blood.
The Mayor of Enschede, Onno van Veldhuizen, has expressed his deepest disgust of this action: “Disgusting, these are not our ethics and values. […}These are Ku Klux Klan-like practices, if you go this crazy with a cross in the early morning hours that’s the kind of association I get”. He also called upon the city’s residents not to be provoked by these actions and has ordered his advisers and staff to look into legal action.
It also appears that most “Enschedeërs” (a tongue twister pronounced: Ann-Scha-Day-Ers) themselves are not quite happy with this action. Though the city is a world apart from the deeply ‘culturally-mixed’ West of the country, it has a long standing tradition of migrant workers who kept, and in some cases still keeping, the city’s (heavy) industries afloat.
What’s more, being in a strongly Christian part of the country, current government party CDA was founded in the same region, many Christians and their churches will be quick to denounce such practices – both to preach the christian value of peace and understanding between people as well as besmirching and abusing the cross in such practices.
Pegida in Amsterdam – Where It Almost Went Wrong.
About a year ago Pegida decided to go into the lion’s den, Holland’s capital city: Amsterdam. A city which suffered greatly during WWII, having seen almost its entire Jewish population eradicated and site of the 1941 February Strike, and has a deep rooted hatred of Nazism and other forms of nationalism.
It was for this reason exactly that Pegida targeted the 2.5 million inhabitant metropolitan center in Noord-Holland, to provoke and generate publicity. And it did, but it could’ve come at a price.
With no legal means to stop a ‘peaceful demonstration’ the city was forced to allow the Pegida-group to come to the city, choosing a location at the Town Hall which is relatively safe with two sides facing water – creating something of a peninsula – and facing the Waterlooplein on the other. When police did a pre-rally security check they discovered an IED, an improvised explosive device, made out of heavy fireworks connected to a remote detonator. Authorities have concluded the device was well-made and could have had ‘severe consequences’, according to a letter written by recently deceased Mayor Eberhard van der Laan.
The need to remove the bomb caused the small of Pegida-protesters to spend their entire demonstration on a small bridge, locked in between riot police and ‘ANTIFA’-protesters. When more and more local Amsterdammers took notice of the Pegida-group, and a Nazi flag was waved, an increasingly angry crowd began to gather, forcing the Pegida-protestors to retreat swiftly under (semi) chaotic circumstances by police escort in buses.
Rising Extreme Right Sympathies in Europe.
Pegida is at the forefront of rising support for extreme right wing groups across the continent, making significant (political) gain in countries like Germany, Austria as well as Central and Eastern-European nations where deeply nationalist governments have taken root and are in some cases at odds with the EU. The groups are strongly centered around the Immigrant Crisis that boomed several years ago after Bunds-Councilor Angela Merkel announced that Germany was open to refugees – setting off a, at least temporarily, uncontrollable influx of people.
With the crisis mostly under control, and the fall of the Islamic State, it seems that European right wing groups may need to look for a new main target soon. That being said the various groups still run strong at this time, as demonstrated by the demonstrations this weekend in Poland’s city of Krakow.