Behind the Scenes
The final installment of this series is a detailed summary of the rally for free speech in Amsterdam and the events leading up to it. It was written by Timo, one of the founders of the Dutch Defence League and the head of the Dutch contingent among the organizers of the European Freedom Initiative. During the preparations for the demonstration, Timo was the local liaison with the Amsterdam police and municipal officials.
This report was originally published in Dutch at ICLA website, and has kindly been translated into English by our Dutch correspondent Bolleke.
The DDL and the EFI Are on the Map!
“From Creation to Demonstration”
Dear members and sympathizers,
I would like to thank everyone who cares about us and in his or her way is committed to the coming of age of the DDL (Dutch Defense League). In addition, sincere apologies for not accurately responding to uncertainties or questions related to issues such as the run-up to the demonstration and the future plans of the DDL.
In August we — some visitors from the EDL forum and some friends who are active in the Counterjihad world — decided to create a movement similar to the English Defense League. Just like distressed citizens of other European countries around us, we also found that it was time for a more active peaceful resistance against the Islamisation of the Netherlands and Europe.
After some preliminary agreements, a plan of action was devised for the development of the DDL: a Charter and a sample of concept statutes were drawn up, and a website and forum were launched to provide a platform to supporters and interested parties, who for the time being could start an exchange of information and temporarily catch potential members. However, before we could start further development, we were approached by other groups from Europe asking us to join a European alliance of like-minded organizations, the European Freedom Initiative. It was to be an umbrella organization with the following affiliated organizations: The English Defense League, Politically Incorrect News (Germany), Citizen’s Movement Pax Europa (Germany), Gates of Vienna, and the International Civil Liberties Alliance.
From within the EFI the DDL was almost immediately asked if it was possible to play a supporting role in setting up a demonstration in Amsterdam. A demonstration for freedom of speech and against the threat of the introduction of sharia law in Europe. A demonstration that would take place in Amsterdam, the most tolerant city in the world, but on the other hand, also the scene of the show trial of Geert Wilders.
Also the EFI would use that day to seal international friendships and it would consider that day as the official kickoff for international cooperation. We decided to slow down the development of the DDL for the time being. We were able to estimate a little in advance that organizing a demonstration would cost a lot of time and energy and therefore it had our priority. The intention was that after the demonstration we would go on and use the time to let the number of forum members grow.
We then reported to the municipality of Amsterdam that in the name of the EFI we had the intention of going to the Museumplein in Amsterdam on 30 October to demonstrate for aforementioned reasons. Because there were indications that many members of the English Defense League were planning to come, communication was initiated directly between the contact person and the responsible parties for the Amsterdam police.
Before a definitive answer from the municipality of Amsterdam came, we were faced with the propaganda machine of René “Backpack” Danen. Through his website, he managed to convince the media that there was going to be an invasion of violent English skinheads. Messages that do well in photo-shooting Netherlands, so the sensational “news” spread fast. The image was formed.
It was not until the end of September that we got permission to go on with the demonstration. Counterdemonstrations were already announced by then, and by then the sound of the upcoming English invasion had also reached the Amsterdam City Hall, and they were somewhat concerned. At the beginning of October we were put in contact with various members of the police in Rotterdam and Amsterdam and invited to a first meeting, and in later stages multiple meetings, to paint the best possible picture of such things as which organizations would be there, what they stand for, how they would travel and what their composition is.
During these discussions, it was made clear that this wasn’t about extreme right-wing groups, but a coalition of distressed citizens from all walks of society. In advance an estimate was made of 2000-5000 people. This seemed to us to be a fair estimate, given the fact that we already had several hundred commitments, and also expected that some positive media attention would provide for additional influx, mainly of Dutch citizens. “If only we could have known better …”.
To keep the topic up-to-date there were interviews and understandings concerning the creation of news items scheduled for the third week of October. Earlier attention to the demonstration would have weakened the impact of the demonstration on the long term, so we decided for a later scheduled media campaign. But broadcasters, newspapers and blogs were already informed of our demonstration by means of two press releases. Also, there was an informal discussion with some journalists about renowned speakers who would attend, such as Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, an activist who like Geert Wilders is being persecuted for “hate speech”. (Hate speech, in this case, means to read verbatim passages from the books of the Koran, the hadith, or Sharia).
It soon became clear to us that the media were not interested in the actual substance of the demonstration nor in the organizations concerned. These were totally taken out of context, and the demonstration was presented as pro-Wilders, organized by the “violent” (read great) EDL. In spite of various attempts on our side through press releases and media appearances of our press officer to present the demonstration in the right way, the media stayed focused on the possible outburst of violence in Amsterdam.
The unwashed quasi-homeless children’s club Antifa (“anti-fascists”) had now, in cooperation with the “AFA” (Anti-Fascist Action) and some migrant organizations, called for violent counter protest over the Internet. Of course, in their eyes no permit was needed. The pressure on Van der Laan (the mayor of Amsterdam) and the police of Amsterdam — and also on us — was rising. Fueled by the media smear campaign against the EDL, the public got the idea that the Museumplein in Amsterdam was going to be a battlefield.
We then worked with the police of Amsterdam in a good and especially pleasant way, and passed on all signals concerning calls of incitement to violence. EFI, and certainly the DDL and EDL, have publicly denounced violence and warned in advance that any person who committed or turned to violence or racism would be removed. With this we made clear to have the best intentions. These contacts were both taking place at a police station in Amsterdam and by telephone.
For the time being it seemed that we could still expect to be at the Museumplein on October 30. Public opinion was not negative at first, although skeptical, but it was felt that we just had the right to demonstrate there as an organization. It gradually dawned on the general public that the violence was being announced from the left side. Antifa panicked and had to make a new move. Van der Laan was informed (by Antifa) about the arrival of hundreds of Dutch hooligans in Amsterdam!
Because in the past problems arose in England with situations like this, an invitation was never sent to any Dutch football supporters’ club whatsoever. The DDL, and also the EFI, has focused on other civil organizations in the Netherlands such as Jewish, Iranian, and gay organizations. Due to the press release issued by Mr. Van der Laan on Wednesday 28 October, whether or not orchestrated by Antifa, the AFCA (Amsterdam Football Club Ajax) hooligans then announced they would defend their city against the invasion of the “extreme right-wing” trash.
A strange thing, because prior to that time, nowhere on the Internet forums or websites of supporters’ associations had there been any calls for a trip to Amsterdam. Moreover, the day before the EFI had sent a report to the police of Amsterdam with a concise summary of signals about the involvement of various risk groups, such as left-wing and right-wing activists, immigrant organizations, and football supporters. It was emphasized that at that time (27 October) there was no indication that any football supporters were going to be there. Also, the DDL, unlike the EDL, had not started out as a small clique of contiguous hardcore football supporters.
On the basis of his own information, Van der Laan decided three days before the event to move our demonstration in order to guarantee our safety. Because this news reached us in the evening, we were unable to attend a meeting until Thursday morning in Amsterdam. We then made it clear that it would be impossible in such a short time to inform participants about a possible move. Because an official review was our only option to still go to the Museumplein, we seriously considered this. However, to submit summary proceedings on Thursday afternoon and then to live in uncertainty for another twenty-four hours would also be too late in case of a negative decision by the judge to adequately inform everyone in time.
The mayor also indicated that he might cancel the whole demonstration. Something we would regret, especially considering the fact that international guests had already booked their hotels. Then on Thursday night it was decided that a preliminary injunction had to be cancelled and we must agree to the transfer. And in the crush of events on Friday we had to notify everyone by means of the Internet and the phone.
Meanwhile, the media were absolutely jam-packed with news items about our demonstration, but the grim atmosphere around it started to scare people away from Amsterdam in droves, including those from abroad. Quite understandable, because we as an organization started worrying about the safety of our participants. However, after proper consultation on Friday 29 October, it became quite clear to us that one could travel fairly safely to the location on the Generatorstraat.
The demonstration itself was quite a strange sensation. Most of the journalists define it as a failure, but making such a determination stems from the fact that the things they had hoped would happen and what they hoped to be able to report did not happen: no recordings of Braveheart 2, but a few handfuls of peaceful citizens who listened to quite engaging speakers. To compensate, the few Englishmen who entered the area were virtually buried under journalists in the frenzy to take a photo of a “skinhead” Englishman.
We ourselves regard the event as a modest success. Of course, we also saw a low turnout and we find it very annoying for those who were not allowed or were deterred in advance from traveling to Amsterdam. On the other hand, if we look at the image the media presented about us, and how they made it difficult for us during the run-up to the demonstration, it is a major achievement that we managed to gather on a field somewhere in the back of an industrial area in the left-Islamic stronghold of the western Amsterdam docklands, surrounded by three times as many journalists as participants.
Another success achieved that day was that our peaceful demonstration has proven that the violence during demonstrations comes from Left in 99% of the cases. The violent announcements from Antifa prior to the demonstration and the fact that of the thirty-four arrests but five were from our side (Note: all five of them were for not being able to present a valid ID card) underpin the above. It’s just unfortunate that the remaining twenty-nine arrests were also linked to our demonstration by the media.
What is also very disappointing is the fact that, despite the massive interest, little has been published in the media about the speeches by, among others, Paul Weston, Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, Alain Wagner, and Tommy Robinson, or about the European Freedom Initiative itself. This despite the fact that guests attended the rally from countries as diverse as England, France, Austria, Germany and Norway. A smashed window of a van was apparently more important.
The attitude of the police in both the run-up and on the day itself was praiseworthy. Though there are, of course, questions about why the van carrying Tommy Robinson ended up near an Antifa group (or could this have been designed by the accompanying PownedTV-van who had picked them up at Schiphol?). In addition, a metro station full of riot-addicted immigrants, Antifa idiots, and street youth calling themselves “Ajax-hooligans” (we have been told that the real core membership of Ajax has distanced itself from this action) shouldn’t have departed from Sloterdijk station. It should also be mentioned that the situation was neatly kept under control by the massively presence of a riot police unit.
The DDL and the EFI are now on the map, and this is particularly due to left-oriented people within the media and Antifa circles. We have learned a lot in a short time, and have proven that we do not collapse under heavy pressure. All this would not have been possible without the efforts of the persons concerned, but especially not without the support and confidence that we received from the members on the forum and from other unexpected corners of the country.
What will be the next steps for the DDL? As mentioned previously, we suspended our development until the demonstration took place. At the moment we’re still recovering a bit from the demonstration, because with all the commotion surrounding it, it has made a tremendous impact in the lives of those involved. This weekend [November 6-7] we have scheduled a meeting with some insiders to pick up the thread. In the course of the next week we will come out with the results and about how our organization will be structured.
Other short-term issues we are going to work on are improving the inaccurate image that clings to us (by the majority of the media we were unfortunately seen as racist and violent, and were labeled “extreme right”) and setting up the subgroups suggested by some of you. Some invitations have already been received, and I will be there in person to discuss this in the near future.
We also know that there is a need for a meeting with a number of members, but for the time being we will be careful about this. This does not mean we want to exclude people, but we want to work very selectively: the first threats have come in, and on the advice of the police, but also out of our own discretion, it is not to be handled lightly. The freedom of our employees and members is paramount.
Finally, I would like to raise the subject of Geert Wilders. It was never our intention to link our organization and/or the demonstration directly to Geert Wilders. We understand the fact that he has distanced himself from our demonstration and our organization. An expected outburst of violence would be too easily linked to his political activities by a small army of left-wing reporters with cameras and pens handy. However, we are very proud that we, the DDL and EFI, kept the situation under control and have proven the alarmists wrong.
I greatly appreciate the confidence you placed in the leadership of the DDL, but also, above all, the patience regarding uncertainties about the Dutch Defense League, the demonstration, and the European Freedom Initiative. We will very soon have a more efficient communication system. Also, as a Dutch contact person for the EFI, I will explain in greater detail this initiative, the relevant organizations and individuals.
A deep bow and thanks to everyone who helped, who took the trouble to come to Amsterdam, or who supported us in any other way during these recent events.
— Timo (founder and admin, DDL)
Contact EFI: firstname.lastname@example.org