Five thousand people rallied in support of tolerance and diversity in Aarhus, Denmark, on March 31, while just 150 staged a protest in the city against the "Islamisation of Europe."
Riot police were out in force in a bid to prevent clashes between the Aarhus for Diversity rally and the self-proclaimed defenders of Christian Europe.
Both demonstrations were initially peaceful, but a small group of black-clad, mask-wearing youth later broke away from the main Aarhus for Diversity rally trying to push through police lines to confront the small band of right-wingers from Denmark, Britain, Germany, Sweden, and Poland.
Officers scuffled with the "ultra-leftists" and arrested 83, of which two were charged with assaulting police officers and the rest with public order offenses.
One police officer received minor injuries after being hit by a bottle.
Some participants in the anti-Islam rally waved German and Israeli flags and insisted that they were not fascist, only opposed to Islamic extremism.
But Mari Linolkken, who travelled from Norway to join the Aarhus for Diversity demo, was not fooled.
"The English Defense League, Danish Defense League, the Stop Islamisation of Europe - we have experienced what their ideology means in practice," Ms Linolkken observed.
She said that she felt compelled to stand up to neo-fascism after what her own country had suffered last July.
Then far-right terrorist Anders Breivik slaughtered 77 people who he claimed had betrayed their country by advocating intercommunal harmony.
Mr Breivik, who is scheduled to go on trial in three weeks, cited the EDL and other so-called counter-jihadist groups in the rambling "manifesto" he released before the killing spree.
Speaking on Saturday, EDL leader Stephen Lennon said: "We hope the rally will be the start of a European movement that will continue to grow."
Unite Against Fascism secretary Weyman Bennett warned that the development of such a network would enable "fascists and right-wing populists to share ideas, finance and experience. "The growth of a Euro-league in a time of economic crisis threatens to resurrect fascist street armies such as those that destroyed European democracies in the 1930s."
Reprinted from the U.K.'s Morning Star.
Photo: Rally for tolerance and diversity in Aarhus. Kraen.