A protest by the English Defence League was held in Amsterdam today in support of Geert Wilders of the PVV (Party of Freedom). Although only around 20 protesters showed up, a large police presence was evident. Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Other sources claim EDL members joined together to form a crowd with as many as 50 or even 60 members, including their Dutch cousins in the imaginatively titled ‘Dutch Defence League’. The small number at the rally may have something to do with the fact that several weeks ago Wilders denounced the assembly.
As is now typical of police management of their rallies, according to Sky News: “The EDL were given permission to hold the action in the isolated area near Sloterdijk rather than Amsterdam’s centre, where it would have been harder to manage”. Otherwise, a few dozen anti-fascists got arrested on their way to a counter-rally, and police also prevented Ajax ultras from greeting the League’s hools in the customary fashion.
The ideological nature of the EDL–or rather, the unofficial ideology of its supporters–is the subject of much ongoing commentary. However there is no doubt that many of its leading figures have histories of involvement in the far right. The League’s leader is former BNP member Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (Yaxley-Lennon uses the pseudonym ‘Tommy Robinson’). He’s one of many whose politics extend to the unapologetically neo-Nazi.
Whatever. The EDL appeared to reach a peak in its popularity some time ago. The more time passes–and the more its supporters are allowed to stew in their juices–the more likely the members of the fractious mob of young-men-what-don’t-like-Muslims will revert to form: battering one another on the basis of their footballing preferences. As for the fate of the hateful tourists in Amsterdam, according to Nick Lowles, Yaxley’s minibus was damaged, he complained about being harassed, and the EDL/DDL were told that for their own safety they had to leave the scrap of ground the police had allocated them on the outskirts of town for their rally not long after it began.
As for the “Australian” Defence League, they reckon they’re gonna be ‘protecting’ Australia again by assembling at Federation Square on Saturday, February 19 next year.
Or not, as the case may be.
See also : “Talking About Surrender”, with your hosts, Geert Wilders & Janet Albrechtsen (January 26, 2009).