Despite the radical Islamization of some parts of Great Britain, less than 400 people showed up for the country’s first so-called “Anti-Islamization” rally, held in Newcastle. This number was dwarfed by a 2000-strong counter rally.
The rally, which took place on Saturday, was organized by the German-based PEGIDA movement. By most accounts, it was a bit of a flop and didn’t receive even a fraction of the numbers and support expected.
While PEGIDA has in the past attracted large crowds in Germany to protest its cause, with similar demos taking place in Austria and Sweden, the British protest was lacking in atmosphere as well as in numbers.
The demos went down more or less without incident, other than the five men who were arrested “for isolated incidents,” according to the police.
Those five men, aged between 17 and 54, were arrested for relatively minor offenses, including assault, breach of the peace, and being drunk and disorderly. There turned out not to be a need for all the extra police who had been deployed in Newcastle ahead of the planned demonstrations.
Police Chief Superintendent Laura Young told reporters about the events in Newcastle yesterday, “Both demonstrations passed without any problems.”
Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for PEGIDA, Marion Rogers, insisted that the group was not racist against Muslims.
She told BBC News, “It’s about integration. We are not anti-Islam. We are not here to split up any communities. We’ve invited Muslims to join us against extremism, extremism of any kind. I don’t think it’s wrong to stand up to terrorism. Is that hate?”
For its part, the English Defence League, the UK equivalent of the French National Front, was also in attendance and protested alongside PERGIDA.
As the threat of radical Islam grows in Britain, it’s unclear what will happen in the future in terms of race relations between British Christians and Muslims, who find themselves at odds with each other over fundamental ideology.