- Publication date
- 7 June 2022
- Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs
The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated a momentum for different narratives that are based on the idea of distrusting governments and political policies. These narratives have fostered a new style of “anti-government extremism” that seems to attract a wide variety of extremist groups, such as anti-vaxxers, conspiracists, right-wing extremists and left-wing extremists, and is reaching a broad audience of people who, in turn, become distrustful and sometimes even hostile towards (local) government.
Anti-government extremism refers to any movements or actions with an antipathy towards the government’s representatives and officials, and democratic institutions. This also means that it refers to the groups that oppose and resist the government’s policies and are willing to incite or commit violence, not only against the authorities, but also against any institutions or individuals that comply with or implement the government’s policies.
In this context, the RAN LOCAL Working Group has convened an online meeting for local preventing and countering violent extremism (P/CVE) coordinators and first-line practitioners to collect insights on how anti-government extremism is manifesting itself on the local level and discuss possible interventions to prevent violent or near-violent actions stemming from this kind of extremism.
This paper is based on the insights of this meeting on 24 and 25 March 2022. The participants proposed, amongst others, the following recommendations:
- Use the interventions and action plans for violent extremism that already exist and see how they can be adjusted to deal with (near-) violent actions stemming from anti-government sentiments.
- Create new alliances to include community partners and civil society actors.
- Train and educate local professionals in recognising and acting upon predominant symbols and narratives used by anti-government extremist groups and how to reach out and engage with local communities.
- Use media to report hate speech and involve local key figures or influencers to stimulate public debate and promote campaigns against violence.