This article originally appeared on VICE Alps.
In an interview with VICE yesterday, former PEGIDA (Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West) 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 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 came together was far from the harmless protest of concerned citizens that the Islamophobic organization 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 reads: 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.
The caption reads: "Where are 'the people'? ["the people" 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, which, according to the Documentation Center of Austrian Resistance (which officially keeps track of past and present right-wing activities), is considered a far-right organization.
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. But where there's a will, there's a way, so Austrian neo-Nazis invented a new move, called "Kühnengruß," which is basically the Nazi salute but with only three fingers. Not that it really mattered—at the PEGIDA rally in Vienna, far-right sympathizers were throwing Nazi salutes all over the place. The police are currently investigating.
The caption reads: "Hitler salute by the police line."
THE IDENTITARIAN MOVEMENT
The caption reads: "We'll be back!"
In May of 2014, the Identitarian movement, which holds itself 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 reads: "Homeland, Freedom, Tradition—Multiculturalism ends here!"