Searchlight - November 2009
After the lamentable turnout for his demonstration in Den Bosch in May, nazi Dutch People's Union (NVU) chairman Constant Kusters called in the help of his German counterparts for his latest stunt in Venlo, close to the German border on 26 September.
With the same slogan "Against Plutocracy and Casino capitalism" as used in previous NVU demonstrations, around 160 nazis showed up, hundred of them from Germany - mainly from Dortmund - who had already warmed up for the march by attacking anti-fascists in Düsseldorf earlier in the day.
Scared of protests, even before the march Kusters was calling on the public prosecutor to start a criminal investigation against Anti-Fascist Action (AFA). At the same time, Venlo mayor Hubert Bruls stepped in to ban face paint for the first time in Dutch history in a move to facilitate the arrest of people dressed up as clowns to oppose the nazis. And indeed, clowns, dressed as 'White Brides', were arrested.
Bruls' petty repressive measures were of little avail, however, because the nazi marchers were attacked, blockaded and had to be rerouted. At the same time, their loudspeaker van was chased away and their speeches drowned out by the jeers of angry citizens. Some cars belonging to the German contingent were damaged.
During the course of the protests, police arrested fifty-six anti-fascists and three nazis. As usual, the police managed to "forget" to enforce the ban on national socialist slogans and symbolism. This, despite the fact that such slogans as "National Socialism Now!", "We celebrate the Holocaust" and "Juden, Juden" were clearly heard, Hitler salutes were given and such symbols as White Power signs, the Black Sun, Combat 18 and Blood&Honour emblems were on open display.
After the demonstration, Bruls was pleased that he had thwarted "AFA plans to attack the demonstration" but Kusters lodged an official complaint that the police had not cleared anti-fascists away from the march route. He has promised to return to the town.
The defeat of the Kusters crowd in Venlo followed another partial setback for right-wing extremism on 17 September when two fascist keyboard warriors appeared in court in Amsterdam for their cyber-activities on the Dutch part of the US-based fascist internet forum Stormfront.
Between 2003 and 2007 one of them, Vincent van 't Westeinde, was moderator of the forum and the other, Hendrik Noordhoek, had put up messages expounding ultra-right theories. In 2007, however, police raided their homes and offices and seized their computers.
Noordhoek, a former member of the now-banned fascist CP'86 and later of Voorpost, the Belgian Vlaams Blok and the latter's Dutch sister outfit the Nederlands Blok, is a long time columnist in the youth publications of the Vlaams Blok (now Vlaaams Belang), Europe Nouvelles and also in the magazine of the Nationale Beweging (National Movement) in the Netherlands.
In October 2003, he registered as "Cicero" on the Stormfront forum and started posting large numbers of antisemitic and Holocaust denial messages. Despite being slightly cerebral than the average right-wing extremist, Noordhoek also sees violence as an option and has urged youngsters to join the army or sign up with shooting clubs (as he has done). He also thinks that British fascists should fully support the IRA. Up to the time of his trial. it was not known that he was "Cicero".
Vincent van 't Westeinde is a skinhead who also signed up, under the handle "Full of Pride", with Stormfront in 2003. At the time, he was an activist in the extreme right-wing New National Party, the successor to the CP'86.
As forum moderator he was responsible for deleting messages and helping new members find their way around its message boards. Under his supervision, thousands of lawbreaking racist messages were posted and not deleted. Only when messages led to infighting or tensions between the different groups on Stormfront did the moderators intervene.
In the event, the court ruled, on 1 October, that Van 't Westeinde be released from all charges because it was not clear that he had read all the messages he had failed to remove. As a moderator, he could not be held responsible for all messages on the forum, the court said.
Noordhoek, however, was convicted and given 120 hours of community work and a 3 months conditional prison sentence. According to the court, Noordhoek's messages were a display of "disgusting antisemitic feelings" and had an "utterly mean character".
His lawyer pleaded that he should never have been prosecuted in the Netherland because his messages were on an American server but the court dismissed this, stating that as Noordhoek was living in the Netherlands and had posted his messages in Dutch on the Dutch part of Stormfront he was clearly liable to prosecution.
Jeroen Bosch for Alert! and Antifa-Net