Two demonstrations faced off in Aarhus last week on Saturday. The European Counter-Jihad Meeting – organised by British anti-Islam organisation the English Defence League (EDL) – was hailed as the start of a pan-European anti-Islam movement. In response, anti-fascist and pro-diversity groups staged a counter demonstration that snaked through the city. The former had a couple of hundred attendees at its peak, the latter over 4,000.
Ahead of the EDL's rally, the domestic intelligence agency, PET, warned that members of violence-prone, right-wing groups from eastern Europe had promised to make the journey and show their support. Anticipating clashes between protesters, Danish police staged the largest security operation Aarhus had ever experienced.
The day started quietly on Mølleparken, the site of the European Counter-Jihad Meeting, with about 50 people milling about. Among them was Peter, who wore Arabic clothing while holding an Israeli flag and a sign stating, 'Stop the Islamisation of Europe.'