A Danish photographer has captured the effect of anti-immigration politics in one image

Narjas Zatat@Narjas_Zatat
Wednesday 16 November 2016 16:45
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(Picture: Ólafur Steinar Gestsson/Scanpix)

Since Donald Trump announced his intention to run in the presidential race, and his subsequent victory, there has been a notable rise in anti-Islam hate crime in the US.

Police have been investigating a sharp rise in hate crime against Muslims, Hispanic Americans, black people, ethnic minorities and the LGBT community following the election results.

Across the pond, Europe has also been moving towards far-right extremism: French nationalist party National Front’s leader Marine Le Pen is planning to be France’s next president; Frauke Petry, German leader of right-wing populist party Alternative for Germany gained ground in regional elections last year and Jimmie Akesson’s anti-immigration Sweden Democrats became the country’s third largest party in Sweden’s most recent general election in 2014.

Photographer Olafur Gestsson attended a public meeting in the Danish city of Kalundborg about the possibility of building a refugee centre. Residents of the city came along and discussed the possibility.

Gestsson captured the following image - which ended up winning the Award of Excellence in the College Photographer of the Year - about how the meeting went, and the kind of views that people held:

Picture: Olafur Steinar Gestsson/Scanpix

Gestsson called the atmosphere “hostile” and noticed a “big division” between those who were in favour of the asylum centre, and those who were against it.

I saw this girl standing alone in a distance from the rest of the group. She might as well be Danish, and some of the people on the left might be in favour of the asylum centre. But the symbol of the night was right there in front of me, and I knew right away that I had my shot.

The picture symbolizes a bigger picture in Denmark. For me, it captures the growing xenophobia and "us and them" distinction, I personally feel is growing in Denmark.

The anti-Islamic/ anti-immigrant sentiment in Denmark is growing. It is a fact that right-wing parties have been gaining support in the last couple of years, and I feel the debate has sadly become more hostile towards Muslims and immigrants.

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