The Pegida demonstration on Stadhuisplein last Sunday went smoothly. Frontman Wagensveld spent his time on a chair and refused to enter into a discussion.
About five people from Pegida gathered on Stadhuisplein. That is unique, because Pegida always wanted to demonstrate in front of the Al-Fourqaan mosque. After riots broke out on 26 May and 22 June, among others, the mayor became reluctant to promise to demonstrate in front of the mosque. Frontman Edwin Wagensveld was allowed to demonstrate with members of Pegida on the Stadhuisplein. Wagensveld did not consider this restriction justified, so he canceled demonstrations. Until today. “This is not a demonstration, I would have come with more people,” says Wagensveld. “I want to show that we do not agree with these restrictions. We will continue until we get what we want.”
More spectators than demonstrators
Despite the low attendance of members of Pegida, a small group of spectators turns into a large group around the town hall square. The total number estimated between forty and fifty. About ten times as many as there were Pegida demonstrators. The group consisted of casual passers-by and people who consciously came to Stadhuisplein.
“I am curious about what Edwin has to say,” says one of the bystanders when asked what they are doing here. “He is sitting here in his chair in the middle of the square. I think he’s looking for attention and I’m willing to see and hear what he wants. But look at that. He has not even managed to get many members.”
Wagensveld is happy with the low turnout of Pegida. “I have just called on everyone not to come. I just wanted to come with a small club purely to make use of my right to demonstrate. I’m out for two hours, then I go and I will come again next week.”
Sixteen-year-old Cihan wants to talk to Wagensveld
After some time, the 16-year-old Cihan walks onto Stadhuisplein. “Mr. Wagensveld, I would like to talk to you,” he begins. Soon the press flows to them. Cihan says he has Turkish and Moroccan roots and was born in the Netherlands. “I am proud of all my roots. I am Turkish, Moroccan and Dutch. Why should I not be proud of that? I can become aggressive now, because you provoke. I’m not like that. I just want to talk to you.”
However, Wagensveld does not want to know anything about it. “I’m not obliged to talk to you,” he says firmly. “I only talk to people who can mean something in this discussion. And no young guests. In fact, I now turn my back on you.” After some back-and-forth talk and insulting slogans from Wagensveld’s side such as ‘goat-fucker’ and ‘pedoprophet’, Cihan stops and wants to shake Wagensveld’s hand. That is refused. “I don’t shake hands with Muslims,” says Wagensveld.
When asked why Cihan wants to talk to Pegida at all, he said: “He directly and indirectly insults many people. I don’t think he realises how much he hurts the pride of Muslims in the way he says things. That can also be done differently. If you say this sort of thing as an adult man, I would like to know why? I don’t think ignoring is an option, so I want to talk to him.”
Wagensveld has announced to organise another demonstration for next Sunday.