COPENHAGEN — Right-wing extremists in Denmark are getting ready for a “race war” and are conducting weapons training in preparation, the country’s PET intelligence agency said Thursday.
A small minority of Denmark’s far-right group members “are involved in registering political adversaries and are trying among other things to acquire skills in weapons use and martial arts,” PET said in a report on political extremism.
“It is our evaluation that this part of the far-right community is preparing for a future race war in Denmark and in that context is willing to use violence.”
The PET stressed that only a small number of Denmark’s fragmented far-right was involved in such activities, but said it was seeing active efforts to recruit new members from hooligan gangs, and that it had seen an increase in violent clashes between right- and left-wing extremist groups.
The intelligence agency also said it was seeing an increase in the number of “solo terrorism attempts” in Denmark and abroad, a trend that poses a huge challenge since people acting alone are often difficult to detect in advance.
The report comes in the wake of the deadly July 22 attacks in neighbouring Norway, where right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik is believed to have acted alone.
PET said it had cooperated closely with Norwegian intelligence but had so far found no evidence of links between Danes and the 32-year-old who first set off a bomb outside government offices in Oslo before going on a shooting rampage on the nearby island of Utoeya.
Sixty-nine people, most of them teenagers, died in the shooting massacre.
In a 1,500-page manifesto he published on the Internet just before the attacks, Behring Breivik said he was on a crusade against Islam and professed his hatred for Western-style democracy.
PET cautioned that Danish extremists might find inspiration in the Norwegian attacks, saying it had conducted a number of “preventive conversations” in Denmark since July 22.
Danish politics have for the past decade been heavily influenced by the anti-immigration Danish People’s Party which boasts the support of more than 12 percent of the population.