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Denmark: 80 people arrested after clash between the ultra-right and their opponents in Aarhus

Denmark, 2.4.2012 17:49, (ROMEA)

Saturday's demonstration by adherents of the ultra-right and a counter-demonstration by their opponents resulted in clashes in the Danish city of Aarhus. Police arrested 80 people. Agence-France Presse and the Associated Press have reported that two police officers were injured while intervening.

Approximately 200 people traveled to Aarhus for a meeting of ultra-right groups from around Europe. Those who attended the protest against the alleged "Islamization" of Europe were significantly outnumbered by counter-demonstrators. Police estimate that as many as 5 000 people gathered under the slogan "Aarhus for diversity".

The demonstration against the "infiltration" of Islam into Europe was convened in Aarhus by the Danish Defense League (DDL), which is anti-Muslim but rejects allegations that it is linked to neo-Nazism. The gathering was attended by people from Germany, Great Britain, Poland and Sweden.

The British ultra-right group English Defense League (EDL) participated in the Aarhus protest. They told the BBC they hoped the meeting would be the start of a common pan-European movement against Islam that would gradually gain strength.

Organizers of the demonstration expected as many as 1 000 people to attend, but police estimated their numbers at only 200. The protest began with a minute of silence in honor of the seven people who were murdered by radical Mohamed Merah, who claimed to be a member of the al-Qaeda terrorist network, in the south of France last month.

Both the demonstration and the counter-demonstration began calmly. However, a group of people from the counter-demonstration unsuccessfully attempted to break through the barrier the police had established between the two groups. Once the protest was over, some opponents of the ultra-right started throwing bottles and stones at the departing DDL promoters. Police officers arrested 80 people.

Two police officers were injured during the conflict with the counter-demonstrators. A police spokesperson said one was struck by either a bottle or a stone, while another breathed in too much tear gas from an exploded canister.

Protests against the ultra-right also took place Saturday in several German towns. In Lübeck, approximately 2 500 people assembled to protest the annual march held by right-wing radicals there to commemorate the 1942 bombing of the town. Deutsche-Presse Agentur reported that about 120 people participated in the right-wing extremist march.

Protest marches against neo-Nazism also took place in the towns of Dortmund and Havel. Approximately 300 people gathered in Dortmund, while as many as 600 convened in Havel.

ČTK, Gwendolyn Albert, Czech Press Agency, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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