Vigilantes patrol parts of Europe where few migrants set foot

The New York Times reports: The People’s Party-Our Slovakia, after months of stirring up fears about foreigners and Muslim migrants, decided to take action: This spring, the group’s leader proudly stood in front of the main railway station in Zvolen, Slovakia, and announced that a new group of volunteers would begin patrolling passenger trains to keep the “decent citizens” of Slovakia safe from criminals and minorities.

Never mind that vanishingly few of the hundreds of thousands of migrants who have reached Europe over the last year ever set foot in the Central European nation, or that only 10 people last year became crime victims on a Slovakian train system patrolled by 600 railway police officers.

The xenophobic Slovakian group has been one of a wave of such extremist organizations across Central and Eastern Europe that have seized on last year’s influx of migrants through Europe to advance their agenda and build popular support. In some cases, the vigilante groups have taken to patrolling borders, streets and other public places to defend against what they portray as a menacing incursion of asylum seekers, many of them Muslims from Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and other poor, war-torn nations. [Continue reading…]

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