This article originally appeared on VICE Alps
In an interview with VICE Alps yesterday, former Pegida Vienna spokesman Georg Nagel claimed that he could not even imagine spotting right-wing extremists at Monday's demo in the Austrian capital. But VICE Alps attended that same demonstration, and we're pretty sure we spotted quite a few people you wouldn't invite to your mixed-race wedding.
We combined what we saw during the rally with a couple of tidbits we found online, and the picture that unfolded in front of our eyes was far from the harmless protest of concerned citizens that the Islamophobic organisation tries to promote. To us, the Pegida rally was the perfect excuse for assorted Austrian hooligans, neo-Nazis, conspiracy theorists, members of the Identitarian movement and members of the (in comparison not-even-so-)far-right Freedom Party to get together. Here's what we saw at that demo.
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THE RIGHT-WING POLICE UNION
The caption writes: The AUF guy – this time he is not wearing an iron cross as an earring.
The man in this picture is a police officer. He's also a member of the far-right Freedom Party's police union group, the AUF. Last time he appeared in the news was during the police evacuation of Pizzeria Anarchia – Vienna's last squat. Back then, he went to the protest while off-duty and brought his gun along.
This time, again, he was off duty and in action. And so was AUF, who use cars that resemble police vehicles and provides policemen with sandwiches at such demos. Someone should comment these guys for their commitment.
The caption writes: "Where are 'the people' [ed. note that is what Pegida call themselves]? Martin Graf is here for sure."
The Freedom Party's Martin Graf was also in attendance. For those whose knowledge of central European bigotry needs brushing up, the FPO is Austria's right-wing populist party. Graf is also a member of the Olympia fraternity, who according to the Documentation Centre of Austrian Resistance (which officially keeps track of past and presend right-wing activities) is considered a far-right organisation.
When it comes to the present-day borders of Germany, Graf maintains that these "were drawn arbitrarily; German nationals should be able to express their nationalism freely in Europe."
Austria is the only country in the world that has a law against what we call Nazi Reactivation. This means that explicit salutes, motifs and sayings that have anything to do with Nazi symbolism are banned. Because of this, you'll rarely ever spot somebody doing a Nazi salute in public. Where there's will, there's a way however, so Austrian neo-Nazis invented thes o-called "Kühnengruß", which is basically the Nazi salute but with only three fingers. Not that this really matters – at the Pegida rally in Vienna, far right sympathisers kept displaying Nazi salutes all over the place nonetheless. The police is currently investigating.
The caption writes: "Hitler salute by the police line."
THE IDENTITARIAN MOVEMENT
The caption writes: "We'll be back!"
In May of 2014, the Identitarian movement, who hold themselves as the "European New Right" marched through the streets of Vienna for the first time ever. Some of its members started out in far-right fraternities and/or the Freedom Party and some were even on the FPO's ballot in past elections. On Monday, about 50 of its members marched along with their friends – the Pegida guys.
The caption writes: "Homeland, Freedom, Tradition – Multiculturalism ends here!"