Police seized “offensive” Mohammed cartoons during a demonstration by the Dutch branch of the Patriotic European Against the Islamisation of the West (PEGIDA) movement in the city of Utrecht this weekend.
The rally, which attracted around 150 supporters, criticised the “Islamisation” of the Netherlands, with demonstrators also expressing their support for the Freedom Party of Geert Wilders, a noted critic of Islamism.
DutchNews reports that police arrested 32 people at the demonstration for a variety of offences including failing to carry IDs, not following police orders and displaying “insulting banners”.
One such banner said the “Koran is poison”, while another claimed “Islamisation is EU-thanasia”.
Video footage emerged of police removing Mohammed cartoons, although their ultimate fate is unknown.
Utrecht City Council had banned the demonstrators from marching through the city so they gathered instead in a park on the outskirts of the city.
The PEGIDA marches started in Dresden, Germany last year as “evening strolls” through the streets every Monday to protest against militant and political Islam. The marches soon grew and spread across the country, but died down again at the start of this year to point where most commentators assumed the movement had petered out.
However, as the migrant crisis intensifies in Europe, especially thanks to German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s relaxed border policies, the marches have started again and are growing.
Authorities have hit back, however, charging founder Lutz Bachmann with hate speech for comments he made in Facebook posts back in 2014. State prosecutors in Saxony claim private posts in which Mr Bachmann uses terms such as “livestock” and “scum” to refer to migrants risked causing disturbances.
This weekend in the German capital Berlin, supporters of the anti-mass migration Alternativ für Deutschland (AfD) party also held a rally criticising Mrs Merkel’s immigration policy and calling for her to resign.
The rally passed off largely peacefully, although violent scuffles broke out between police and pro-migrant counter-demonstrators.