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European far right to stage anti-Islam rally
Police on alert and counter-demonstrations planned as English Defence League and continental allies meet in Denmark.
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2012 09:50
The English Defence League has held a series of rallies and marches across the UK since 2010 [GETTY]

European far-right groups are set to hold a rally in Denmark which will create an anti-Islamic alliance across the continent.

The rally has been organised by the English Defence League (EDL) who have called for demonstratations against the "Islamification of Europe".

The EDL says the meeting in the city of Aarhus will discuss the formation of an European Defence League with representatives from far-right and anti-Islamic groups in Italy, Poland, Germany, Finland, Sweden and Norway expected to attend.

The rally will take place a few weeks before the start of the trial of Anders Behring Breivik, the far-right extremist who murdered 77 people in Norway last July.

Breivik claimed to have had contact with the EDL ahead of the attacks, adding that he had "spoken with tens of EDL members and leaders". In response to the killings, the league condemned the killings and added that it had no contact with Breivik.

In a statement on its website, the EDL said it would not associate with any individual or group who did not reject "extremism" and said "racists, neo-Nazis and any other extremists" were not welcome.

It said it had called on participating groups to sign a memorandum declaring that they were "anti-extremist, anti-fascist, and anti-racist".

"We will protest peacefully, but we will defend ourselves if need be. We will be loud, and we will not back down," the memorandum states.

EDL leader Stephen Lennon said he expected a few hundred people would attend.

"We're not expecting big numbers in Aarhus," he said. "We hope it will be the start of a European movement that will continue to grow."

Already various far-right groups have been in the Danish city of Aarhus since Wednesday where they have had a chance to hold meetings and discuss ideas.

Anti-racist groups are worried that hardline anti-Islamic groups are mobilising and gathering support in Europe.

Police in Aarhus said the rally would be kept apart from an expected counter-demonstration by anti-racism campaigners.

Projekt Antifa, a Danish coalition of anti-fascist groups, has booked coaches to take protesters from Copenhagen to Aarhus where the demonstration is being held.

Police Superintendent Mogens Brondum said: "The police can and will handle this situation. We will be out massively."

Last week, several thousands people turned out for an open-air concert organised to protest against the far-right rally.

A statement issued by city officials said the concert was organised because "Aarhus does not want to be associated with extremist groups" that represent "everything we want to distance ourselves from".

Source:
Agencies
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