Far-right protesters gather in Amsterdam
FAR-right groups gathered in Amsterdam today to protest against what they claim is the “growing Islamisation” of Europe.
Hundreds of people are expected to attend the demonstration, with members of the English Defence League (EDL) also invited by their Dutch counterparts.
Authorities moved the rally from a city center location to an industrial site on the outskirts of Amsterdam for fear of violence.
“We are not aggressors, we are peaceful people who care about democracy and our country,” a spokesman for the European Freedom Initiative said.
However, Mayor of Amsterdam Eberhard van der Laan has ordered a heavy police presence for the rally.
Controversial far-right politician Geert Wilders moved quickly to distance himself from the protesters, many of whom support his extreme views on Islam and immigration.
Wilders has previously called for the Koran to be banned and for taxes to be levied on Muslim headscarves.
His Party For Freedom is a key supporter of The Netherlands’ center-right coalition and his popularity has surged in recent years.
Soccer fans from Ajax Amsterdam posted internet messages calling for action to stop the EDL from visiting their city.
Demonstrations of the EDL in Britain have attracted neo-Nazis and soccer hooligans, as well as counter demonstrators, often resulting in violence.