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The extreme right and anti-refugee protest

Op 24 september 2015 twitters Geert Wilders for the first time callto revolt against the arrival of refugees: "No azc! no azc! #kominverzet '. Two weeks later, a group of masked men stormed a refugee center in Woerden with fireworks. End of that month all hell breaks loose in Steenbergen, a village on the border of West-Brabant and Zeeland. A public consultation meeting on the reception of refugees leads to scream- and verbal abuse. Proponents of the refugees are aggressively gagged and then have to deal with threats and violence in the private sphere. The tone is put to many protests against the reception of refugees in the following months.

Identitair Resistance is inspired by #kominverzet call Wilders
Identitair Resistance is inspired by #kominverzet call Wilders

After Woerden and follow Steenbergen Geldermalsen, Enschede, Heesch, Beverwaard and many other places where citizens revolt against decisions to absorb refugees. Not, a year later, has returned the peace in many places. The arrival of refugees in the Netherlands has been greatly reduced and many refugees have found shelter and shelter. In some places, the plans already postponed the construction of AZCs or completely canceled. In other places, the reception centers established without much turmoil. The protest against the establishment of refugees is largely died down. But for right-wing extremist groups, this is not a completed period. The refugee issue is to them at the heart of their ideology: "No immigration, own people first'. The anger of citizens on the arrival of refugees fits well with their ideas. In many of these citizen protests do right-wing extremists also struggling to find connection. The goals that this extreme right is trying to achieve are inconclusive. Partly they simply want to help to prevent the arrival of new migrants. In addition, attempts have been made to win protesting citizens for their own business and their own organization. Finally, there are also showy attempts to make himself big for, to be of significance, or simply in order to pick up the media.

Not, after half a year of unrest 2015 en 2016 and several months of relative calm that followed there, the question arises to what extent the extreme right of this wave has benefited to citizen protests. Is there growth in size, support for their ideas, additional activity or political influence?

Banner on Pegida demonstration in Amsterdam, yet determined date
Banner on Pegida demonstration in Amsterdam, 6 februari 2016

We think it's a good time to answer these questions.

We look at two types of extreme right-wing groups, the old-timers and newcomers. For the social unrest around refugees took first, that old, existing far-right groups have manifested specifically on this theme. On the other hand, there also arose new far-right groups from protesting against refugees.

We start with the latter category, groups that emerged on the wave of civil protest. Often they took the most fantastic, militant names, but came up not too much of their ambitions into practice. A few times they put their actions or for actions in, but just came with them into trouble. We run a number of these clubs after.

DTG en DSDA

A group operating from the beginning of the citizen protests against refugees, is ‘Protesters against Municipalities’ (DTG). The group formed in Enschede, but gains in a short time supporters at various locations in Netherlands. Remarkably sitting between those new adherents even people with long histories within the extreme right. DTG is that time responsible for some demonstrations, but above all running demonstrations from other organizations. What is striking about these demonstrations, was the militant character of the DTG'ers: Front in clashes, aggressive presentation and appearance. But in doing so by DTG is always emphasized that although the presentation, but that DTG only commit violent resistance.

DTG at Pegida demo in Amsterdam. Rechts Jeroen Banda en Danny Hoffmann
DTG at Pegida demo in Amsterdam, 6 februari 2016. Rechts Jeroen Banda en Danny Hoffmann

However, that appears with a grain of salt to be taken. In februari 2016 A number of important activists of the DTG was to take only violent actions. In late February, five of them throw, including the important DTG activists Jeroen Banda and Danny Hoffmann, Molotov cocktails at a mosque in Enschede. They want thereby sowing fear among Muslims and prevent a refugee center will be opened in Enschede.

At the same time breaking down the perpetrators of this attack with DTG and move to the Dutch Self Defense Army (dsdA). DSDA is another club that has emerged on the wave of anti-refugee protest. DTG which presents itself in word and nonviolent action group, DSDA does not decide. The founders of DSDA wish to protect their own far-right supporters and calls on the DSDA members, therefore, to arm themselves and to practice martial arts.

DSDA foreman Henk Veenstra (midden) at Pegida demonstration Amsterdam, 6 februari 2016

Aggressive look which matches the DTG'ers which clearly militant actions are. But this move to DSDA is not pecked by other DTG'ers. DTG men Benno Wilmink and Raphael Marchese steps along with two others to the house of 'turncoat' Jeroen Banda. In addition to ransacking the house. This internal violence then ensures that DTG falling apart. DTG other groups in the country are turning remains of the core group now and in Enschede yourself below just a marginal group on.

With DSDA seems then to be something better. That group was at the turn 2015/2016 arise and would "protect" the use of force right-wing extremist activities. They then dive uninvited at Pegida demonstrations on. Pegida at a demonstration in March, a group DSDA supporters arrested for possession of weapons (pepper spray and knives). thereon dissociates Pegida itself of DSDA.When some time later is still clear that the brandbomgooiers from Enschede are de facto members DSDA, DSDA comes to a standstill. Formally, the organization still exists, but DSDA is also no longer visible active.

Soldiers of Odin

A similar initiative when DSDA is the Soldiers of Odin ". This is about an originally Finnish extreme right initiative, which was taken over by Nazi skinhead groups in the Netherlands. The idea of ​​this organization is that groups of right-wing extremists vigilantes walk to 'protect' people of the Netherlands against immigrants. Despite a tough name, tough ambitions and some cool pictures on the Internet seems Soldiers of Odin long time not to be or not to be able to plan effectively for action.

Ronald Kiewiet (pet) with other members 'United We Stand Holland' at NVU demonstration Maassluis, 12 november 2016
Ronald Kiewiet (pet) with other members' United We Stand Holland’ at NVU demonstration Maassluis, 12 november 2016

Until the moment that some men in Winschoten in summer 2016 maintaining a refugee who they suspect of sexual harassment. After the arrest they carry the boy to the police. this group, led by Ronald Kiewiet, claims to be Soldiers of Odin and argues that they actually vigilante running in the province of Groningen. However, it is unclear whether this group has done more than this one arrest. Shortly after the incident step Ronald Kiewiet and Winschoten supporters at Soldiers or Odin to start their own club, with the name "Street Warriors Holland. Another tough name, tough ambitions and cool pictures, but otherwise no visible activity. This club is subsequently renamed again in 'United We Stand Holland – Protecting Our Citizens’. Where further also is taken little of. Except that some members of the group recently travel to Maassluis to participate in an NVU demonstration Zwarte Piet.

Brass Knuckle Brotherhood

Patrick Hendriks (Brass Knuckle Brotherhood) Nazi demonstration in Dortmund
Patrick Hendriks (Brass Knuckle Brotherhood) Nazi demonstration in Dortmund, 8 oktober 2016

As if there is thus not enough new militant splinter groups, addition to the existing neo-Nazi groups, was also in the same period the ‘Brass Knuckle Brotherhood’ Founded. Again with the intention to organize militant resistance against refugees and left-wing politics. The founder and leader of Brass Knuckle Brotherhood, Patrick Hendriks from Deventer (active on the internet under the pseudonym 'Henk Ludolf Feldmeijer'), has a long history within the extreme right and include been involved in the CP'86 and Blood & Honour.

Brass Knuckle Brotherhood militant ideas brings Hendriks in practice at a Pegida demonstration in Apeldoorn, where he mistreats a press photographer. That gives him an arrest, a criminal and a fine. Furthermore Hendriks has mainly engaged in the past year distributing large quantities of stickers with an anti-refugee message. He is member of several demonstrations of others. He would appear to have the support of some other supporters of Brass Knuckle Brotherhood.

Pegida

EX-NCE activist Hugo Cooper on Pegida demonstration Hague (adding date)
Ex-NCE activist Hugo Kuijper at Pegida demonstration Hague, 11 september 2016

The only group that still remained from the political margins of extreme-right violence is fetishists Pegida. Pegida does exist for some time in Germany, but the street is for the first time in the Netherlands in autumn 2015, Utrecht. Pegida manages in this period during the great civil unrest around the arrival of refugees, demonstrations organized by between one hundred and two hundred participants. That may by Dutch standards a success seen.

But Pegida has not remained free from internal thunder. A major problem lies with the leadership of Pegida. Pegida Netherlands is in 2015 put into place by activists Pegida Germany. A German born in Netherlands, Edwin Wagensveld, is the leader and face of Pegida-Netherlands. However, for the functioning of Pegida-Netherlands, it is important, however, that there are also Dutch organizers get involved. In addition, however, play a lot of problems. The main problems arise because many people Pegida attracts no action experience, without knowledge and without organizational capacities. Many therefore always ends up on the shoulders of Wagensveld. Additionally Wagensveld is accused by Pegida supporters internally authoritarian and not to establish transparent, which groups activists drop in recent months. There now seems to be a solid Pegida supporters of several dozen protesters have formed, monthly to the streets goes. That core seems to be no further development at this time. No people in this group go off and there are no new activists. Pegida know more hardly attract protesters who walk once with demonstrations, as in the first, more successful demonstrations was the case.

Edwin Wagensveld neo-Nazi demonstration in Dortmund, oktober 2016
Edwin Wagensveld neo-Nazi demonstration in Dortmund, 8 oktober 2016

Pegida-Netherlands has let the past year be taken at its violent nature and away from violent organizations dsdA and neo-Nazi organizations, as NCE. However Pegida or in the near future the same cautious stance will maintain unclear. Wagensveld leader has become clear recently in Germany involved in a schism within Pegida Germany and currently is trying to win supporters in circles of extreme right-wing football hooligans and neo-Nazis. The risk that those activities will also be reflected on the Wagensveld activities in the Netherlands. The visit of Edwin Wagensveld, the end of June, a masked militia in Bulgaria with Turkey trying to catch immigrants in the border reinforces this. even the pictures of Wagensveld in a military uniform led to questions in parliament in The Hague.

new organizations

This is not a complete summary of all the new far-right organizations that have emerged in the past year. other organizations, such as the North Brabant Resistance Front and Defend Gouda know the same origin and show themselves also particularly interested in militant and violent actions. Defend Gouda even has a machine gun as the logo for the organization. But involvement in demonstrations by others after, these organizations have never been further from the ground.

The big line on this new extreme-right organizations, incurred on the waves of social unrest around the arrival of refugees, seems pretty clear. It is piece by piece (with the exception of Pegida) to groups with strong penchant for violence against migrant and left-oriented people. At the same time lacking these clubs to supporters and organizational capacities to undertake real actions. When they sometimes go into action provided that nasty incidents, as well as arrests and lawsuits. The five DSDA'ers arrested for throwing firebombs at a mosque have been sentenced to long prison terms on the basis of terrorism legislation.

Defend Gouda demonstration against refugee center, Gouda 23 april 2016
Defend Gouda demonstration against refugee center, Gouda 23 april 2016

To the extent that there is a risk posed by these groups, it seems it wanted to be in the organizational power or influence that they can exert, but is that danger more often mindless violent actions that can cause a lot of danger and impact.

Exception to this is Pegida. A new organization, which nevertheless manages to recruit more supporters and appears to be able to put some more on feet. As should by now be said that the Pegida supporters remain stabbing provisional few dozen demonstrators. The first well-attended demonstrations, where the necessary impact went from being like the past, monthly Pegida demonstrations seem to become a recurring ritual walk.

older organizations

In addition to these new organizations also interfere existing wing extremist groups themselves with the turmoil surrounding the arrival of refugees.

PVV and AZC-Alert against refugees

An important role has been laid off for the PVV. In the introduction has been written about the call for opposition party leader Geert Wilders. Wilders interferes more actively with local decisions on the reception of refugees. He visits this troubled period several places to spread propaganda or to speak at meetings. Several times these visits go hand in hand with violence and intimidation against supporters of refugee reception by local supporters of the Freedom Party. In addition, local groups, who want to protest against the establishment of refugees, advice and support provided by the group AZC-Alert. AZC-Alert is established, coordinated a manned from the PVV. All key positions of this organization are PVV MPs. It is currently unclear what the intervention in the debate on refugees for the PVV supporters. There has been growing support for the party under the influence of this debate? In the absence of official members is the only serious moment of measurement for the size of the supporters of the Freedom Party when it held national elections, in spring 2017.

With other existing far-right groups is currently something to say about the effects of their involvement in anti-refugee protest.

NVU

The Dutch People's Union (NVU) becomes final 2015 involved in a somewhat strange way in actions against the arrival of refugees. Despite opposition to immigrants is obviously an important issue for a far-right party as the NCE, The party seems at first to miss the momentum of citizen opposition to the arrival of refugees. There is barely tap into protests and no private initiatives are also developed.

NVU demonstration against refugee center, Utrecht (yet determined date)
NVU demonstration against refugee center Utrecht, 21 May 2016

But oddly enough, there are several mayors and representatives of the media who see things differently. They assume, wrongly, that are responsible for local activists NCE turmoil around this theme. Party leader Kusters then appears not afraid to make this open shot for goal and claims that his party is indeed involved in many local protests and claims, Again wrongly, that he himself there is a guiding hand.

From that moment, however, the NCE is going to be involved with several protests against the reception of refugees in Arnhem, Rheden, Utrecht, Oosthuizen and Lunteren. NCE Local activists are also active at a refugee center in Purmerend and Holly. In the Arnhem district Elden knows NCE get a coordinating role even spent some time in a local action group that opposes the refugees.

Martin de Regt en Constant Kusters (NVU) in anti-refugee protest,Utrecht (date)
Martin de Regt en Constant Kusters (NVU) in anti-refugee protest, Utrecht 19 maart 2016

This combination of wrongly claimed activities and active involvement in local protests NCE quite deliver what media attention, undoubtedly an important objective of the party. But the NCE beyond what has been achieved? The social and political significance of the game remains very marginal. Simultaneously have however been a number of developments during the reference period within the NCE. After some internal disputes and conflicts are a number of active members of the old, traditional supporters of the NCE, consisting of radical neo-Nazis, put off the party and stepped. This has partly to do with personal quarrels with the party leader. But partly it also puts a strategic choice behind. NCE leader Kusters tries to avoid for several years that he comes into the picture in the criminal, because he has no need for fines or imprisonment. When he was recently convicted as a co-perpetrator of neo-Nazi statements that were made by others on an NVU demonstration, it was decided by him that there was no Nazi utterances longer be done by NCE supporters. Some NVU members in spring 2016 arrested during a demonstration still are then put out the party directly. Het betreft hier, for clarity, no ideological change of direction, but only one decision to make outwardly less visible the sharp edges.

With the departure of these neo-Nazis might be expected that the supporters of the NCE would shrink seriously. But that is not the case. In part, the NCE can build a small, but loyal group of party members. Meanwhile, the NCE vist active in other far-right groups to disgruntled members. There are several people in recent months from Pegida circles over stepped the NCE. Thus, the party seems to be able to allow to maintain approximately equal to the size of the batch, or maybe even slightly grow to a few dozen members.

Outpost

For Post begins the period of resistance against refugees with 1-0 arrears. The Dutch branch of Outpost is in fact strongly decimated in recent years. There are many members left, while there has been hardly any new supporters at. In addition to some very active members, including former action director Paul Peters, arguing are resigned to a private group, Identitair Resistance, to be set.

Robert Schaap (President For Post-Netherlands) and Florens van der Kooi (Action leader Outpost) demonstration Pegida, Amsterdam (date)
Robert Schaap (President For Post-Netherlands) and Florens van der Kooi (Action leader Outpost) demonstration Pegida, Amsterdam 6 februari 2016

With the small remaining group of supporters Outpost participates on a small scale in citizen protests against refugee center. This happens especially in the region where the latter groups live Outpost members, especially in South Holland.

Where the outpost unable to get personally protests from the ground or turn to the hand, she knows how to get actively involved in Pegida-Netherlands. For Post-members will be increasingly important for Pegida when it comes to arranging facilities such as sound, stages and forming a service order. The role of the new Outpost Action leader Florens van der Kooi jumps here the most eye. The main activities of Outpost Members Netherlands are also the last year the activities Pegida-Netherlands. This cross-pollination also results in that there occasionally close cooperation by the two organizations and that there Pegida supporters join it Voorpost.

Identitair Resistance

Identitair Resistance is like Outpost an action group with a very limited grassroots. But unlike Outpost is that lack of manpower has never been an obstacle to action. Even with the fierce debate surrounding the arrival of refugees, the group with relatively few resources successfully develop many activities.

Banner Identitair Resisting refugees, Adding date and place
Banner Identitair Resisting refugees

There are various towns and villages, names in South Holland, supporters recruited to undertake local actions against plans to absorb refugees. It uses the name and propaganda Identitair Verzet.Daarnaast carry activists Identitair Resistance various actions occupation of buildings intended for reception of refugees. these actions, which turn out in most cases in arrests and fines, be carried out by a solid core of activists. However, the past year has shown that there are people participating in these actions that have a background in other far-right groups, as Pegida.

KNNL

Camaraderie Northern Netherlands (KNNL) consists of a group of neo-Nazis from East Groningen, with their roots in the Blood & Honour-netwerk. KNNL has in recent years been more active in international Nazi networks through participation in operations in Germany and through involvement in the Production of Nazi rock for an international audience of mostly 'Hammer Skins'.

Participant KNNL demonstration against refugee center, Oude Pekela (date)
Participant KNNL demonstration against refugee center, Oude Pekela 19 december 2015

KNNL but manages to jump conveniently regional protests against the refugees. Especially the men Marcel Flink and Harm-Jan Smit organize various demonstrations and events in Winschoten and Oude Pekela against refugees, whereby they receive limited support from local residents. These demonstrations take no more than a few dozen visitors.

Situation

We have already seen that new groups that have emerged have not been able in the past year to develop into strong and iconic organizations. In many cases, these small groups that operate in extreme violent rhetoric, but play little done in practice. The explosive mix of extremism and violence fantasies, however, it could act as a serious threat from these groups.

Exception to this is the action group Pegida, focusing on the same themes as the more militant groups: resisting refugees and Muslims and to fight leftist politics. Pegida does this being better organized, with more followers and by peaceful means.

Banner against coming AZC (Location and date)
Banner against coming AZC jobs

The longstanding groups NCE, Posts and Identitair Resistance seem only benefited to a limited extent have the social unrest around the arrival of refugees. NCE has met the media regularly, which certainly by the party leader as a major victory is seen. But in size and importance has not changed much for the NCE. The same applies to Outpost, already in the porridge or a finger through interference with Pegida demonstrations managed to get within that organization. As some seem Identitair Resistance and KNNL or to have benefited little. There seems to be some new local supporters to have arisen and the small core of regular activists of both groups has been expanded in recent times something.

In summary, there is no question of major changes in many cases. The most important finding is the emergence of a few marginal clubs with extreme views and a great fantasy violence, that could potentially cause problems. This is certainly true in the context of an environment in which migrants and Muslims are routinely presented as dangerous and a threat. A climate, which for a small part will be determined by these groups, but what mainly can be written on the PVV account.