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Jelle van Buuren Discusses Link between Viruswaarheid and Extremist-right in Dutch News Magazine One World

Jelle van Buuren, Assistant Professor Institute of Security and Global Affairs, discusses why extremist-right activists can be found in the corona-sceptic movement in Dutch News Magazine One World.

The corona scepticism movement is supported by allies who would like to see an end to the corona measures. These ideas are published on the ‘Viruswaarheid’ website (a Dutch corona scepticism organisation) and proclaimed during demonstrations. The desire is clear, but the allies are diverse to say the least. Van Buuren explains: 'What we're seeing at the moment, is an eclectic protest made up of groups with their own fears and ideas, joining forces over the topic corona.'

A lot of people who, for various reasons, were already harbouring resentment, are joining the group. The assembly is united in their mistrust against the government, science and a range of other topics. Van Buuren says the sceptics are split two ways: 'Part of them are worried, for instance, about the collapse of the economy because of the corona measures, or the loss of privacy as a result of the corona amendments. The other part sees the actions of the government as confirmation of a conspiracy of the ruling class.'

Extremist right motives

According to Van Buuren one explanation for the presence of extremist-right in the corona scepticism movement is that these extremist-right groups use the social unrest as a stepping stone. He explains: 'Within extremist-right circles opportunism is always present: how can we enlist those people who are angry? They believe that people who are afraid and outraged and who are railing against the system are susceptible to the political ideas of extremist-right.'

Van Buuren doubts if by using this approach extremist-right will actually be able to get a foot between the door: 'You'll notice that the traditional extremist-right, neo-Nazism, has little following in the Netherlands. Ever since the war there has been too much resentment here, because the emphasis that has always been placed on the damage done by Nazis during WOII.'

You can read the full article (in Dutch) here

Jelle van Buuren is an Assistant Professor at Leiden University - Institute of Security and Global Affairs. His research interests lie in, among other things, European police cooperation, intelligence cooperation and border management. He is currently researching what role conspiracy thinking is playing in processes of delegitimisation.

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