Right-wing demonstration prevented

Searchlight, december 2003

At the end of October, ultra-rightists from a shady outfit called "Stop Martijn' requested permission from the mayor of Amsterdam, Job Cohen to stage a protest picket.

"Stop Martijn", a committee against paedophilia almost exclusively composed of ultra-rightists from the fascist New National Party (NNP) and NieuwRechts (NR) was, in fact, attempting to hold a picket in Amsterdam for the second time, the first attempt having been thwarted in August.

As the name of this latest dodgy front organisation suggests, the right-wingers have targeted the Martijn Foundation an organisation which tries to make paedophilia accepted in society in a bid to to popularise their own organisation and ideas, to recruit among citizens who are concerned about paedophilia and to grab a bucketful of cheap publicity.

Besides that, NieuwRechts wants to be an "action party", like the Socialist Party on the left, and that means taking its own sick ideas onto the streets. As befits the right- wing's well established lynch mob mentality, "Stop Martijn" also wants to publish the names and addresses of suspected paedophiles and argues that they should be chemically castrated or even subjected to the death penalty.

Anti-fascists in Amsterdam have made it clear throughout that, while they in no way share the goals or the ideas of the Martijn Foundation, they have no intention of allowing ultra-rightists to become acceptable by abusing public concern about the issue.

In August, "Stop Martijn" failed in its attempt to hold its picket outside the post office where the Martijn Foundation has its PO Box because its would-be participants were spotted by anti-fascists at an Amsterdam train station and chased away.

In October, however, "Stop Martijn" was granted permission to hold a demonstration in Amsterdam, starting at the city's central station, on 25 October. As in August, anti-fascists in the city were already preparing to act against this provocation when they received unexpected assistance from NieuwRechts boss Michiel Smit, who very kindly posted the details of the gathering point of the right-wing demonstration on the Internet.

On the afternoon of the demonstration, two half-full buses of NNP and NR members were travelling towards Amsterdam. Others opted to meet at the central station where they found themselves confronted by a large show of police force and then had to run to escape a group of about a hundred militant anti-fascists who chased them back onto the trains. Some of right-wingers were caught by the anti-fascists, a number of whom were later arrested, and given a good hiding.

The turn of events alarmed mayor Cohen who immediately decided to ban the "Stop Martijn" demonstration on the grounds that "security was no longer guaranteed" and ordered the police to stop the buses which, by then, were just outside the centre of Amsterdam.

All dressed up and with nowhere to go, the frustrated right-wingers were ordered out of the city despite loud protests from Smit and Florens van der Kooi, the chairman of the NNP. At a car park, in Leiderdorp, the humiliation of the right-wingers was complete as they stood forlornly with banners outside their buses and listened to speeches by their leaders.

One of the buses later decided to travel to The Hague, where about twenty-five "Stop Martijn" activists were allowed to tramp around on the empty square in front of the Dutch government buildings.

Smit has now announced that he will file a complaint against the city of Amsterdam and against Anti-Fascist Action and, of course, he will also attempt to demonstrate in Amsterdam again but such an event will probably only be allowed to take place in a desolate industrial area.

Whether "Stop Martijn" will accept that and how its members deal with the internal rows that have broken out after the 25 October fiasco remains to be seen. Anti- fascists, however, are determined to prevent "Stop Martijn"... wherever it shows its face.

By Jeroen Bosch of Alert! in Utrecht