Pegida cancels barbecue at Rotterdam mosque
About 20 supporters of anti-Islam movement Pegida decided at the last minute not to hold a demonstrative barbecue in front of the Laleli Mosque in Rotterdam on Thursday. According to Pegida, the police said that their safety couldn't be guaranteed. According to the police, they said no such thing and the group decided on its own to leave, NU.nl reports.
A spokesperson for Rotterdam Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb told the newspaper that Pegida "made the decision not to let the demonstration go on itself, when they saw the crowd."
A few hundred counter-demonstrators gathered at the mosque and formed a human chain. The atmosphere at the scene was quite tense, with some harsh comment shouted at the Rotterdam mayor. No arrests were made. Shortly after it was apparent that Pegida would not be roasting pigs at the mosque, the counter-demonstrators left and peace returned.
Pegida wanted to roast pork at mosques in five municipalities during Ramadan evening prayers. Utrecht, The Hague, Arnhem and Gouda all banned the demonstrations at the mosques, but did give Pegida the option to protest elsewhere. Aboutaleb decided not to ban the demonstration, because he did not want to deny the protesters their right to demonstration. This led to criticism on the Rotterdam mayor from the Turkish government.