Like heavy music? You might be in a hate group
A Canadian music fan has criticised Calgary’s police service for apparently suggesting listening to “heavy rock music” could be a sign a young person is a member of a hate group.
In an information leaflet entitled Signs of a child being part of a hate group, the police force lists “playing loud, heavy rock music with violent lyrics” as an ‘early warning sign’, and police spokesman Corwin Odland says there “tends to be a correlation” between members of extremist groups and being “involved in that kind of music”.
The list has been rebuked by Calgary heavy metal fan Robert Riggs, who tells the Toronto Metro the idea of heavy metal fans as violent is an outdated stereotype. “My son, he listens to heavy metal, and he’s one of the nicest kids ever, but I tend to see him lumped into a group he doesn’t belong in,” he says.
“It’s kind of gone the way of [the idea that] video games cause violence and things like that. It’s not monkey see, monkey do. Kids see their parents go to work all time, and they don’t suddenly get up and find a job at seven years old.”
The list has since been updated to remove the word “rock” from the description, although the reference to “heavy music” remains.
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5,000 attend neo-Nazi festival in Swiss village
On the same weekend negative media attention forced the cancellation of a planned show in Falkirk, Scotland, by American white-power band Bound for Glory, an event being called the biggest neo-Nazi rally in living memory went ahead without problems in a small Swiss village.
Close to 5,000 skinheads descended on Wildhaus-Alt St Johann, near the German border, on Saturday for the Rocktoberfest event, which hosted performances by Blood and Honour-linked bands Stahlgewitter, Confident of Victory, Frontalkraft and Amok.
“This is one of the biggest gatherings that has taken place since the emergence of the [skinhead] movement in the late 1970s,” Stéphane François, a lecturer at the University of Valencia, tells Le Figaro. “Ordinarily, these types of events brings together tens of people, or hundreds for larger events.”
“”This is one of the biggest gatherings that has taken place since the emergence of the skinhead movement in the late 1970s,””
According to the paper, local authorities – who were told by organisers the event would be a single concert by a Swiss group, attended by no more than 800 people – feel “duped”.
The rally follows the growth similar events in neighbouring countries, including Austria and Germany, amid fears right-wing extremists are being emboldened to more freely express themselves after years of lying low. A recent investigation by the German interior ministry found there were 98 shows by neo-Nazi or white supremacist bands in the country in the first half of 2016 – an increase of more than 55% on the first six months of 2015.
Sharp increase in neo-Nazi concerts in Germany
Underground neo-Nazi live music events are on the rise in Germany, according to the country’s interior ministry, with 98 concerts by right-wing extremists having taken place in the first six months of this year – an increase of over 55% on the first half of 2015.
Responding to a request from The Left party, the Federal Ministry of the Interior (Bundesministerium des Innern, BMI) revealed there were at least 40 far-right concerts and 49 smaller liederabende (recitals), which usually feature a singer-songwriter with a guitar, from January to June 2016, compared to 63 in the same period last year.
“After years of decline in the far-right scene, it now seems to be an increase again,” Andreas Bühl, a member of the Thuringian parliament, tells Die Welt. Bühl criticises what he sees as a “safe haven” for neo-Nazis in the central German state of Thuringia, where on Saturday around 1,000 people attended the anti-migrant Rock gegen Überfremdung festival – roughly ‘Rock Against Foreign Infiltration’ – which saw far-right bands including Frontfeuer und Uwocaust and representatives of neo-Nazi parties NPD and the Third Way descend on the tiny village of Kirchheim.
“After years of decline in the far-right scene, it now seems to be an increase again”
“There is a risk that Thuringia will become a safe haven for all types of extremists, since they must feel less exposed to persecution here,” he tells the paper.
In 2015 the German security agency, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz, BfV), warned the number of right-wing extremist music events were approaching a high not seen since 2012, and it looks as if the total will be even higher this year. BfV says such concerts serve as a “means of self-expression” for neo-Nazis and offer a “feeling of belonging” for younger members of the subculture.
According to Die Welt, Rock Against Foreign Infiltration will probably be the last major far-right event of this year’s festival season. Police were on the doors looking for “swastikas, [neo-Nazi] CDs and weapons”, although “the visitors know the procedure. Hardly anyone will be caught.”