• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Cops fear clashes as anti-Islam demos grow
Demonstrators in Dresden on Monday night. Photo: DPA

Cops fear clashes as anti-Islam demos grow

DPA/The Local · 16 Dec 2014, 12:02

Published: 16 Dec 2014 09:14 GMT+01:00
Updated: 16 Dec 2014 12:02 GMT+01:00

“We can see a quickly rising number of Salafists and simultaneously a worrying reinforcement of xenophobic activities,” Maaßen said.

Maaßen was speaking in the wake of a demonstration by over 15,000 people under the banner of “People Against the Islamization of the Occident” (Pegida) in Dresden on Monday night, an increase of 5,000 participants on last week's protest.

The increasing numbers also prompted Chancellor Angela Merkel to warn against "agitation and mud-slinging" against foreigners.

The march was attended by the leader of right-wing political party Alternative for Germany (AfD) in Brandenburg Alexander Gauland, despite a call from party spokesman Hans-Olaf Henkel for members to avoid it.Radicalized people returning from battle zones in the Middle East and violent hooligans demonstrating in the streets could easily come to blows, making for a tense situation for the authorities to monitor in 2015.

Maaßen recalled the street battles between police and over 4,000 “Hooligans against Salafists” in late October this year as an example of what could happen when just one of the opposed groups was involved.

But he added that Islamist terrorism was the greatest threat to security in Germany.

“This year's toll of Islamist terrorism is horrifying. Never have so many jihadists left for Iraq and Syria as since the call went out from Islamic State (Isis) in the summer.”

More than 230 Islamists from Germany are believed to have travelled to the warzone in 2014, bringing the total fighting jihad abroad to over 550. Maaßen's men believe 180 of them have returned to Germany. One man was recently sentenced to three years' jail for fighting in Syria.

“They usually go back to their old circles, which use them for recruitment and radicalization of fresh people. And returning fighters with combat experience enjoy high respect in the scene.”

Leaders from across the mainstream political spectrum and immigration and asylum organizations targeted Pegida for harsh criticism on Monday, with Merkel warning people not to be “instrumentalized” by xenophobes.

Story continues below…

Numbers of counter-demonstrators marching for “Dresden for All” and “Dresden Nazi-free” were significantly lower than last week. Police said there were 5,600 at the counter-march compared with 9,000 last week.

Anti-immigrant feeling is on the rise across Europe, with President Hollande of France blasting anti-immigrant sentiment in his own country at the opening of a Museum of Immigration in Paris on Monday.

SEE ALSO: Merkel slams 'mud-slinging' anti-Islam demo

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Today's headlines
Munich pulls together after shopping mall shooting
Photo: DPA

In the chaos after the Munich mall shooting, city residents spontaneously offered shelter to strangers - a move that Chancellor Angela Merkel said showed that Germany's strength lies in its values.

Merkel deplores 'night of horror' in Munich
Photo: DPA

Chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday said Munich had suffered a "night of horror" after a shooting spree in the southern German city left nine people dead.

Munich shooting
Munich attacker was shy video game fan
People laying flowers at the site of the shootings. Photo: DPA.

David Ali Sonboly was a quiet, helpful teenager who loved playing video games. His neighbours say there were no warning signs before his deadly rampage at a Munich shopping mall.

Munich shooting
Munich gunman inspired by rightwing Breivik: police
Photo: DPA

The lone teenager who shot dead nine people in a gun rampage in Munich was "obsessed" with mass killers such as Norwegian rightwing fanatic Anders Behring Breivik and had no links to the Islamic State group, police said Saturday.

Munich shooting
Turks, Kosovans and a Greek among shooting victims
Photo: DPA

Three Turkish citizens were among the nine people killed in Germany's Munich mall shooting. Three Kosovans were also among the nine victims.

Munich shooting
Munich gunman was likely not Isis terrorist: police
Flowers laid at the Olympia Shopping Centre underground station. Photo: DPA

According to initial investigations by Munich police, the young man who went on a shooting rampage in Munich on Friday evening was a lone gunman without motive, not a terrorist.

Munich shooting
'Lone' Munich shooter kills nine, commits suicide
Photo: DPA

A teenage German-Iranian gunman who killed nine people in a shooting spree at a busy Munich shopping centre and then committed suicide had likely acted alone, German police said Saturday.

As it happened
Nine dead in shooting rampage in Munich
File photo: DPA

Nine people are dead after "at least one person" went on a shooting spree in a Munich shopping centre on Friday evening. An attacker is believed to be among the dead.

German Turkish community split by unrest after coup plot
Pro-Erdogan protesters in Berlin. Photo: DPA

Hatred between supporters of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and those opposed to him has exploded on social media in Germany in the wake of a failed coup attempt last Friday.

Germany stresses defence of Baltics after Trump comments
Photo: DPA

Germany on Friday stressed its promise to protect its NATO allies after White House hopeful Donald Trump called the commitment into question.

Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Analysis & Opinion
Nice was an attack on France, not on Germany
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
National
Bavaria train attack: Were police right to shoot to kill?
National
How to get German citizenship (or just stay forever)
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Technology
Brexit will turn Berlin into 'Europe’s startup capital'
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Travel
Six soothing day trips to escape the bustle of Berlin
International
'Germany needs to make UK come to its senses'
Features
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Features
How two gay dads cut through German red tape to start a family
National
Five things to know about guns in Germany
Sponsored Article
Health insurance for expats in Germany: a quick guide
Culture
10 things you need to know before attending a German wedding
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
National
Eight weird habits you'll pick up living in Germany
Lifestyle
Six reasons 'super-cool' Berlin isn't all it's cracked up to be
Society
Only one country likes getting naked on the beach more than Germany
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Lifestyle
23 ridiculously fascinating things you never knew about Berlin
Culture
8 German words that perfectly sum up your 20s
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Lifestyle
Can't make it past the door at Berlin's most famous club? Help is at hand
Business & Money
Why Frankfurt could steal London's crown as Europe's finance capital
Features
6 surprising things I learned about Germany while editing The Local
Culture
Five sure-fire ways to impress Germans with your manners
10,799
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd