Far-right groups from across Europe meet in Denmark on Saturday to try to form a pan-European anti-Islamist alliance, a project that will test the cohesion of a fringe trying to build support from fears about immigration and Islamist extremists.
The long-planned gathering of extreme right-wing movements from Nordic countries, Britain, Poland and elsewhere is expected to try to exploit revulsion at the killings of seven people this month by a Muslim of Algerian origin in south-west France.
The meeting eight months after anti-Islam fanatic Anders Behring Breivik killed 77 people in Norway will test whether these groups are recovering from the political blow Breivik dealt them and whether they can coordinate internationally.
Their detractors say these fringe groups, with members often associated with violent incidents, are racists seeking to latch on to tensions over immigration in Europe.
Several previous attempts by European far-right groups to join forces over the past 15 years have foundered amid splits and feuding over ideology and leadership.
“We’re not expecting big numbers in Aarhus,” Stephen Lennon, the head of the English Defence League (EDL), one of the biggest groups behind the gathering, told Reuters, adding that a few hundred people would attend. “We hope it will be the start of a European movement that will continue to grow.”