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Pictures | Wed Mar 15, 2017 | 11:50am GMT

Rise of Europe's far right

Geert Wilders, leader of the Dutch far-right Freedom Party (PVV),  who wants to "de-Islamicize" the Netherlands, hopes clashes between Turkish-Dutch protesters and the police, along with Ankara's accusations of Dutch "fascism", will help bolster his chances of finishing first as the country votes on Wednesday. The election, seen as a test of anti-immigrant sentiment even before a rift with Turkey at the weekend, put immigration and nationalism at the top of the political agenda.

With one day to go until the Dutch vote, pollster Maurice De Hond found that the spat between the Netherlands and Turkey, and Saturday's night of rioting by ethnic Turks in Rotterdam, had benefited Wilders's anti-Muslim Freedom Party to push it up two seats to 24, though still trailing Prime Minister Rutte's VVD Liberal party.

Convicted in December of inciting discrimination for leading a crowd in a chat for "Fewer! Fewer! Fewer!" Moroccans. Three weeks ago Wilders repeated calls for a crackdown on "Moroccan scum".

In 2011, he was acquitted of inciting racial hatred charges for calling for the Koran to be banned, comparing the Koran to Adolf Hitler's manifesto "Mein Kampf", and calling for the deportation of "criminal" Moroccans. Judges said that his remarks, while offensive to some, were within the bounds of legitimate political discourse. Many observers felt the trial helped increase his popularity as he was able to showcase himself as a champion of free speech.

Wilders' Party for Freedom (PVV) has virtually no chance of forming a government, given the splintered political landscape. Other parties have ruled out a coalition with a party they view as racist, but a PVV win would nevertheless send shock waves across Europe. REUTERS/Yves Herman

Geert Wilders, leader of the Dutch far-right Freedom Party (PVV), who wants to "de-Islamicize" the Netherlands, hopes clashes between Turkish-Dutch protesters and the police, along with Ankara's accusations of Dutch "fascism", will help bolster his...more

Geert Wilders, leader of the Dutch far-right Freedom Party (PVV), who wants to "de-Islamicize" the Netherlands, hopes clashes between Turkish-Dutch protesters and the police, along with Ankara's accusations of Dutch "fascism", will help bolster his chances of finishing first as the country votes on Wednesday. The election, seen as a test of anti-immigrant sentiment even before a rift with Turkey at the weekend, put immigration and nationalism at the top of the political agenda. With one day to go until the Dutch vote, pollster Maurice De Hond found that the spat between the Netherlands and Turkey, and Saturday's night of rioting by ethnic Turks in Rotterdam, had benefited Wilders's anti-Muslim Freedom Party to push it up two seats to 24, though still trailing Prime Minister Rutte's VVD Liberal party. Convicted in December of inciting discrimination for leading a crowd in a chat for "Fewer! Fewer! Fewer!" Moroccans. Three weeks ago Wilders repeated calls for a crackdown on "Moroccan scum". In 2011, he was acquitted of inciting racial hatred charges for calling for the Koran to be banned, comparing the Koran to Adolf Hitler's manifesto "Mein Kampf", and calling for the deportation of "criminal" Moroccans. Judges said that his remarks, while offensive to some, were within the bounds of legitimate political discourse. Many observers felt the trial helped increase his popularity as he was able to showcase himself as a champion of free speech. Wilders' Party for Freedom (PVV) has virtually no chance of forming a government, given the splintered political landscape. Other parties have ruled out a coalition with a party they view as racist, but a PVV win would nevertheless send shock waves across Europe. REUTERS/Yves Herman
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Far-right French National Front (FN) leader Marine Le Pen is seen well ahead in the first round of the April presidential election but losing the second round by a wide margin to independent centrist Emmanuel Macron, an opinion poll showed.

She fares better among voters under 25 than she does among the population at large, often by a margin as high as 7 percentage points. That is a big reversal from her first bid for the presidency five years ago, when her 15 percent share of the youth vote was around 3 points below her overall tally. 

The party has risen on a platform of anti-immigrant euroscepticism, offering protectionist policies to shelter France from globalization. "We can't just welcome (immigrants) in France - the only solution is that we protect them in their country and for them to continue to live in their country," she said. 

Le Pen's National Front, founded 40 years ago by her ex-paratrooper father Jean-Marie, is still fuelled by anti-immigrant rhetoric. Among her ideas for protecting welfare are toughening citizenship requirements, shutting borders and forbidding foreigners from access to any social aid.

Under the leadership of Marine Le Pen, who took over from her father Jean-Marie in 2011, the FN has switched from an economically liberal, pro-small business party to one that promises to lower the retirement age and guarantee France's generous welfare safety net.

A growing majority of French voters see Marine Le Pen's far-right National Front as a threat to democracy, but a third approve of its ideas, a Kantar Sofres-Onepoint poll showed. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

Far-right French National Front (FN) leader Marine Le Pen is seen well ahead in the first round of the April presidential election but losing the second round by a wide margin to independent centrist Emmanuel Macron, an opinion poll showed. She...more

Far-right French National Front (FN) leader Marine Le Pen is seen well ahead in the first round of the April presidential election but losing the second round by a wide margin to independent centrist Emmanuel Macron, an opinion poll showed. She fares better among voters under 25 than she does among the population at large, often by a margin as high as 7 percentage points. That is a big reversal from her first bid for the presidency five years ago, when her 15 percent share of the youth vote was around 3 points below her overall tally. The party has risen on a platform of anti-immigrant euroscepticism, offering protectionist policies to shelter France from globalization. "We can't just welcome (immigrants) in France - the only solution is that we protect them in their country and for them to continue to live in their country," she said. Le Pen's National Front, founded 40 years ago by her ex-paratrooper father Jean-Marie, is still fuelled by anti-immigrant rhetoric. Among her ideas for protecting welfare are toughening citizenship requirements, shutting borders and forbidding foreigners from access to any social aid. Under the leadership of Marine Le Pen, who took over from her father Jean-Marie in 2011, the FN has switched from an economically liberal, pro-small business party to one that promises to lower the retirement age and guarantee France's generous welfare safety net. A growing majority of French voters see Marine Le Pen's far-right National Front as a threat to democracy, but a third approve of its ideas, a Kantar Sofres-Onepoint poll showed. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann
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Nigel Farage, former leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) and Member of European Parliament.

Farage stirred controversy during the main TV debate of Britain's national election campaign in 2015 by complaining about the number of foreigners seeking treatment for HIV in Britain.

Farage lead the campaign for Britain's to leave the European Union, a triumph for him as the abrasive anti-immigration politician who tapped into a deep well of popular anger that rivals failed to understand. 

President-elect Donald Trump tweeted "Many people would like to see @Nigel_Farage represent Great Britain as their Ambassador to the United States. He would do a great job!" 

"There is no vacancy," a Downing Street spokesman said when asked about Trump's remark. "We already have an excellent ambassador to the US." REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Nigel Farage, former leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) and Member of European Parliament. Farage stirred controversy during the main TV debate of Britain's national election campaign in 2015 by complaining about the number of...more

Nigel Farage, former leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) and Member of European Parliament. Farage stirred controversy during the main TV debate of Britain's national election campaign in 2015 by complaining about the number of foreigners seeking treatment for HIV in Britain. Farage lead the campaign for Britain's to leave the European Union, a triumph for him as the abrasive anti-immigration politician who tapped into a deep well of popular anger that rivals failed to understand. President-elect Donald Trump tweeted "Many people would like to see @Nigel_Farage represent Great Britain as their Ambassador to the United States. He would do a great job!" "There is no vacancy," a Downing Street spokesman said when asked about Trump's remark. "We already have an excellent ambassador to the US." REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
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Jimmie Akesson leads the far-right Sweden Democrats party.

In Sweden, a record 163,000 asylum applications in 2015 has deepened concerns about unemployment, rising crime and falling education standards, undermining a consensus around liberal immigration policies and boosting the far right.

The Sweden Democrats started a subway advertising campaign in the heart of Stockholm, apologizing to tourists for the "mess" created by beggars -- referring to migrants. "Our government won't do what's needed. But we will and we're growing at record speed," the banner advert read.

REUTERS/Anders Wiklund/TT News Agency

Jimmie Akesson leads the far-right Sweden Democrats party. In Sweden, a record 163,000 asylum applications in 2015 has deepened concerns about unemployment, rising crime and falling education standards, undermining a consensus around liberal...more

Jimmie Akesson leads the far-right Sweden Democrats party. In Sweden, a record 163,000 asylum applications in 2015 has deepened concerns about unemployment, rising crime and falling education standards, undermining a consensus around liberal immigration policies and boosting the far right. The Sweden Democrats started a subway advertising campaign in the heart of Stockholm, apologizing to tourists for the "mess" created by beggars -- referring to migrants. "Our government won't do what's needed. But we will and we're growing at record speed," the banner advert read. REUTERS/Anders Wiklund/TT News Agency
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Anti-immigration party Alternative for Germany (AfD) leader Frauke Petry was condemned after she was reported comparing societies including migrants to compost heaps. "What should we make of the campaign 'Germany is Colorful'? A compost heap is colorful, too," Petry made the comments in a speech in Stuttgart according to the online edition of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

Known for her fiery speeches to AfD supporters, Petry sparked an uproar earlier this year when she called for German police to be allowed to use firearms against illegal migrants.

Formed in 2013 in opposition to euro zone bailouts, the AfD has morphed into an anti-immigration party over the past year, as Petry kicked out its founder and seized on a record influx of migrants to lure new voters and steal disaffected members of Merkel's conservatives.

While populist, anti-immigrant parties have thrived for years in other European countries, Germany has been an exception, in part because opposition to far-right ideologies runs deep because of the country's Nazi past.

The refugee crisis has changed all that. More than a million migrants entered Germany in 2015, unsettling many Germans and turning the AfD into a force on the national stage almost overnight. The AfD is now represented in 10 of Germany's 16 states.

REUTERS/Axel Schmidt

Anti-immigration party Alternative for Germany (AfD) leader Frauke Petry was condemned after she was reported comparing societies including migrants to compost heaps. "What should we make of the campaign 'Germany is Colorful'? A compost heap is...more

Anti-immigration party Alternative for Germany (AfD) leader Frauke Petry was condemned after she was reported comparing societies including migrants to compost heaps. "What should we make of the campaign 'Germany is Colorful'? A compost heap is colorful, too," Petry made the comments in a speech in Stuttgart according to the online edition of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Known for her fiery speeches to AfD supporters, Petry sparked an uproar earlier this year when she called for German police to be allowed to use firearms against illegal migrants. Formed in 2013 in opposition to euro zone bailouts, the AfD has morphed into an anti-immigration party over the past year, as Petry kicked out its founder and seized on a record influx of migrants to lure new voters and steal disaffected members of Merkel's conservatives. While populist, anti-immigrant parties have thrived for years in other European countries, Germany has been an exception, in part because opposition to far-right ideologies runs deep because of the country's Nazi past. The refugee crisis has changed all that. More than a million migrants entered Germany in 2015, unsettling many Germans and turning the AfD into a force on the national stage almost overnight. The AfD is now represented in 10 of Germany's 16 states. REUTERS/Axel Schmidt
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Matteo Salvini, leader of Italy's anti-immigrant Northern League party, has overseen a resurgence of his party since taking over as leader a little over two years ago, focusing on attacking immigration and the euro in a drive to broaden its appeal beyond its base in northern Italy.

"Europe is what's allowing our truckdrivers to be squeezed out by Romanian contracts, Romanian wages and pensions that can be used to come and work in Italy because that's what Europe wants - a race to the bottom."

Salvini advocates measures to protect domestic goods and against illegal immigrants.

REUTERS/Alessandro Garofalo

Matteo Salvini, leader of Italy's anti-immigrant Northern League party, has overseen a resurgence of his party since taking over as leader a little over two years ago, focusing on attacking immigration and the euro in a drive to broaden its appeal...more

Matteo Salvini, leader of Italy's anti-immigrant Northern League party, has overseen a resurgence of his party since taking over as leader a little over two years ago, focusing on attacking immigration and the euro in a drive to broaden its appeal beyond its base in northern Italy. "Europe is what's allowing our truckdrivers to be squeezed out by Romanian contracts, Romanian wages and pensions that can be used to come and work in Italy because that's what Europe wants - a race to the bottom." Salvini advocates measures to protect domestic goods and against illegal immigrants. REUTERS/Alessandro Garofalo
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Tom Van Grieken is leader of the Belgian anti-immigrant and separatist party Vlaams Belang (Flemish Interest). 

Formed in 2004 as the successor party to Vlaams Blok, which disbanded after being declared racist by a court, Vlaams Belang has representatives in local, regional, federal legislatures and the European Parliament, but has never been in government at any level because of the shared policy of mainstream parties to exclude it. The party is fiercely in favor of an independent Flanders, split off from Belgium, is anti-Muslim and seeks zero tolerance on crime. In 2012, it offered a 250-euro bounty to anyone who reported a fully veiled woman to police . Women in Belgium risk a fine if they wear a full face veil in public.

REUTERS/Alessandro Garofalo

Tom Van Grieken is leader of the Belgian anti-immigrant and separatist party Vlaams Belang (Flemish Interest). Formed in 2004 as the successor party to Vlaams Blok, which disbanded after being declared racist by a court, Vlaams Belang has...more

Tom Van Grieken is leader of the Belgian anti-immigrant and separatist party Vlaams Belang (Flemish Interest). Formed in 2004 as the successor party to Vlaams Blok, which disbanded after being declared racist by a court, Vlaams Belang has representatives in local, regional, federal legislatures and the European Parliament, but has never been in government at any level because of the shared policy of mainstream parties to exclude it. The party is fiercely in favor of an independent Flanders, split off from Belgium, is anti-Muslim and seeks zero tolerance on crime. In 2012, it offered a 250-euro bounty to anyone who reported a fully veiled woman to police . Women in Belgium risk a fine if they wear a full face veil in public. REUTERS/Alessandro Garofalo
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Nikolaos Mihaloliakos is leader of the Greek far-right Golden Dawn party.

Golden Dawn has kept a low profile since a government crackdown stemming from attacks on dark-skinned immigrants and leftists, which put top party leaders in jail during the trial, which is ongoing.

Mihaloliakos and a dozen top figures were arrested in 2013, weeks after the stabbing of anti-racism rapper Pavlos Fissas by a party supporter, in the biggest mass roundup of elected politicians in Greece since the colonels' coup in 1964.

The stabbing had prompted a broad investigation of the party, during which police found unlicensed weapons, Nazi flags and portraits of Hitler in the homes of arrested party members.

In its manifesto, Golden Dawn says all "illegal immigrants" should be rounded up, detained and sent home. The party, whose members have been seen giving Nazi-style salutes, also wants tax breaks to boost Greece's low birth rate to "avoid us becoming a minority in our own country."

The party was first propelled from obscurity into parliament in 2012 over anger at unemployment, austerity, corrupt politicians and immigrants. They are most popular among 18- to 24-year-olds, angered by the government's decision to reverse course and accept tough bailout terms from international creditors.

Golden Dawn, whose emblem resembles a swastika and whose members have been seen giving Nazi-style salutes, rejects the neo-Nazi label.

REUTERS/Michalis Karagiannis

Nikolaos Mihaloliakos is leader of the Greek far-right Golden Dawn party. Golden Dawn has kept a low profile since a government crackdown stemming from attacks on dark-skinned immigrants and leftists, which put top party leaders in jail during the...more

Nikolaos Mihaloliakos is leader of the Greek far-right Golden Dawn party. Golden Dawn has kept a low profile since a government crackdown stemming from attacks on dark-skinned immigrants and leftists, which put top party leaders in jail during the trial, which is ongoing. Mihaloliakos and a dozen top figures were arrested in 2013, weeks after the stabbing of anti-racism rapper Pavlos Fissas by a party supporter, in the biggest mass roundup of elected politicians in Greece since the colonels' coup in 1964. The stabbing had prompted a broad investigation of the party, during which police found unlicensed weapons, Nazi flags and portraits of Hitler in the homes of arrested party members. In its manifesto, Golden Dawn says all "illegal immigrants" should be rounded up, detained and sent home. The party, whose members have been seen giving Nazi-style salutes, also wants tax breaks to boost Greece's low birth rate to "avoid us becoming a minority in our own country." The party was first propelled from obscurity into parliament in 2012 over anger at unemployment, austerity, corrupt politicians and immigrants. They are most popular among 18- to 24-year-olds, angered by the government's decision to reverse course and accept tough bailout terms from international creditors. Golden Dawn, whose emblem resembles a swastika and whose members have been seen giving Nazi-style salutes, rejects the neo-Nazi label. REUTERS/Michalis Karagiannis
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