Global Independent Analytics
Enric Ravello Barber
Enric Ravello Barber

Location: Spain

Specialization: History, Catalunya, Spain, Geopolitics, Nationalism in Europe, Islamization, Immigration

PEGIDA ORGANIZES PROTESTS AGAINST MIGRATION ALL OVER EUROPE

Demonstrations against EU policies on immigration in fourteen European countries.

6th February marked a milestone in European mobilization against the immigration policy of the EU, and against the way the different European governments have managed the arrival of hundreds of thousands of the so called "refugees."

PEGIDA[1] - that had already made some demonstrations outside Germany in the Netherlands and Belgium- issued a mass appeal to turn the 6th  of February into a day of protest across Europe. It was the first time PEGIDA made an appeal of this magnitude, while making another step forward in becoming the benchmark of protests against the reception policies of “refugees” dictated by the EU. Countries such as Germany, France, Austria, UK, Poland, Ireland and Czech Republic ... responded to the call of PEGIDA. Up to 14 countries participated in what can clearly be described as a big success [2].

The largest demonstrations took place in Dresden (Germany) -the strongest place for PEGIDA- with the participation of over 10,000 people. The success of the event coincided with the publication of a poll by Emnid which stated that if PEGIDA will run as a party in the next German elections, it would receive 8% of the vote, more than the 6% that would be won by Alternative für Deutschland (AfD),[3] the party that till now has politically capitalized its discontent with Angela Merkel ´s immigration policies. As the well-known Eurosceptic and anti-Islamization politician Filip Dewinter said, [4] PEGIDA represents a more radical position against the policy of Merkel and the EU on immigration than the AfD. It should be noted that the sum of both parties would give 14% to those who oppose neoliberal migration, rendering them equivalent to the third political force in Germany, and if they succeed there will be for first time a nationalist anti-immigration and Eurosceptical party in the Bundestag.[5]

Big demonstrations took place in the Czech Republic and in Poland, where Eurosceptical political nationalism has been growing, both in its milder version and in the most radical form. In Warsaw a meeting took place between the representative of PEGIDA, Tatjana Feterling and the leader of the Eurosceptic nationalist formation Ruch Narodowy, Robert Winnicri. [6]

There were also demonstrations in Birmingham (UK), the UK's second city of immigrants, led by Tommy Robinson, former leader of the English Defense League, and now leader of the British branch of PEGIDA. In the UK, PEGIDA doesn´t directly support any nationalist anti-immigration party, neither the more moderate United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), nor the more radical National Front (NF) or British National Party (BNP). [7]

And for the first time in Dublin, the capital of the Republic of Ireland, the demonstration ended in a heavy fight between the Irish followers of PEGIDA, police and counter-demonstrators.[8]  This event also served to highlight the full cooperation between the Irish section of PEGIDA and a new anti-immigration, Eurosceptic and nationalist Irish party recently created: Identity Ireland [9] led by Peter O´Loughlin.

Undoubtedly, the country where these events have had more media coverage has been France, where two more marches occurred: one in Calais (North) and one in Montpellier (South).

The demonstration in Calais was banned by the French police prefecture, but despite this ban,  about 300 people gathered. Police detained several protesters, including the prominent General Piquemal, former commander of the French Legion, who before the demonstration made harsh statements against the arrival of "refugees" to France. [10]

The arrest of General Piquemal was reported by several international media [11] and has caused many reactions in his favor in France while generating a campaign for his release. It should be added that among the "counter-demonstrators" there were a lot of "illegal immigrants" - about 8,000 are installed in Calais- police didn´t identify or stop any of them. Even Marine Le Pen -who had distanced herself from the events organized by PEGIDA as “too radical” in her opinion- has ruled on this arrest, stating: “he is a great servant of France who is now severely treated as an offender: a cruel proof of the total inversion of values.”

The demonstration in Montpellier was authorized, and in this case was organized by the Ligue du Midi, joining together over 400 demonstrators. [12] Among the various speakers there was the university professor Pierre Vial[13] who claimed: "For the first time in history, the peoples of Europe don´t rule in their territory, spiritually, ethnically and politically. We entered the system of nihilism and chaos," and Ester Gallego [14] arrived from Catalonia to affirm: “it is as a European woman that I accuse all the mass-media, and all the self-proclaimed feminists, SOS Racism and other anti-European associations for their cowardly and complicit silence when thousands of European women have been raped. "

Media tension grew in France, when in the following day direct threats against activists of the National Front were made by ISIS in his their latest statement addressed to the propaganda magazine of the Francophone world Dar al Islam. [15] Militants of Marine Le Pen´s party are marked as  "priorities" for ISIS’ next attacks on French territory. The National Front MEP[16] Nicolas Bay has been quick to blame the Premier Manuel Valls of these threats, as Valls said that "to vote FN it is to vote ISIS"- a senseless demagogic statement, that now can have a high political cost for the French Socialist politician.

The day of protest organized by PEGIDA is a clear sign of a new and growing trend in European politics. The "refugee crisis" has not only provoked demonstrations throughout the continent, but clearly increases popular criticism of the migration policies dictated by the EU and implemented by each of its member countries. This is a situation that could change the political balance in several countries of the European Union and may increase the weight of the anti-immigration and Eurosceptic parties. A situation that possibly Brussels had not anticipated and to which it does not know how to react.

 


[1] Patriotische Europäer Gegen die Islamisierung des Abendslandes (in German) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pegida

[5] Federal German Parliament.

[7] A political party which achieved 6% of votes and 2 MEPs in 2011, which is now in time of restructuring.

[8] Including several Muslim associations.

[11] novorossia.today/aux-yeux-du-monde-entier-la-police-arrete-un-general/

[13] Professor of Medieval History at the Lyon III University, was founded and secretary general of the famous intellectual organization GRECE (Gruopement de Recherche et d´Études pour la Civilisations Europèene),  local councilor of the Front National and nowadays, President of the association Terre et Peuple htttp://www.terreetpeuple.com

[14] President of the first anti-immigration Catalan nationalist party, SOM Catalans  (http://www.somcat.cat ) , and the woman of reference in the fight against the Islamization of Catalonia. http://estergallego.cat

[16] Member of the European Parliament.

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