The ex-leader of the English Defence League (EDL) Tommy Robinson spoke at the launch of PEGIDA Netherlands in Utrecht over the weekend. He used his speech to call for peaceful anti-Islamisation movements across Europe to unite in a “new era” of resistance and protest.
Four arrests were made at the event, which passed off largely peacefully, Dutch News reports. Standing alongside the German founder of anti-Islamisation group PEGIDA, Lutz Bachmann, Mr Robinson explained to the crowd that he and the EDL had attempted to cross the channel some years ago to spread their protest movement.
“But Europe wasn’t ready,” he said.
Mr Robinson, who launched the EDL six years ago, said: “I am proud of forming a resistance movement in my own country to the Islamisation of my town and country.”
He has previously been critical of what the EDL became, and denounced the tactics of the street protest group. “I don’t regret forming the EDL, I wholeheartedly regret the effect its had,” he told Breitbart London in an exclusive interview in September. Adding: “The EDL is for the brave and sometimes the stupid.”
Unlike the EDL, PEGIDA has so far proven to be a peaceful movement, with adherents taking afternoon strolls instead of marches in the model of the peaceful protests made in Germany and Poland against the former communist regimes. The majority of arrests occurring at marches have been made among the left-wing, ‘anti-fascist’ counter-protesters for whom throwing fireworks, glass bottles, and stones is normal. Robinson gave them his full support:
“I’ve sat for the past 18 months and watched PEGIDA grow. And I now realise – from everyone here today – Europe is now ready.
“Now is the moment and now is the time!”
He clarified: “Do I think we should go back to the street demonstrations that we had with the EDL? No. But I think the time has come to unite across Europe because we have to save our culture.”
He spoke of a “migrant invasion” and said, “[Angela Merkel] is on record saying [multiculturalism] has failed; she is now importing one and a half million fake refugees!”
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“What we need is solidarity and unity across Europe,” he said. “We don’t need individual demonstrations in one country… What we need is everyone united under one banner; and I know PEGIDA are in contact with groups in Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Russia, Poland, France, Sweden – all across Europe.”
He said he had traveled to the Netherlands to form a “partnership” and a “friendship” with the leaders of PEGIDA.
“We are going to enter into a new era in Europe, where everyone is going to unite against the Islamisation of our countries,” he said.
He also addressed the state persecution he has encountered in the UK: “Anyone who is critical of Islam risks their life… I knew this and I expected this [when I started the EDL].
“What I didn’t expect was my political leaders to choose sides… What we need to all understand is that the EU – our leaders – have picked sides. They have chosen not to stand on the side of freedom and democracy. They have chosen to stand on the side of Sharia.”