• Germany's news in English
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
German populist party in race row over Boateng remarks
Boateng, who has a Ghanaian father, was born and brought up in Berlin. Photo: DPA

A leading member of the right-wing populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) party sparked outrage Sunday after making racist remarks about national football team defender Jerome Boateng.

Dozens hit by lightning strike in west Germany
Witnesses to the lightning strike said it came out of the blue. Photo: DPA

35 people were injured in the west German village of Hoppstädten when lightning struck the pitch at the end of a children's football match.

Dresden 'most woman-friendly’ city in Germany
Photo: DPA.

Sorry Berlin, you're not the most progressive city for women, according to a new report.

The future belongs to these 10 German regions
This east German city won the 'most improved' category. Photo: DPA

A new study shows that one city above all will dominate the future of Germany, but if you're canny you might still want to think about moving to Leipzig or Erfurt.

Fugitive ex-terrorists 'on huge crime spree' in north Germany
(L-r): ex-RAF members Volker Staub, Daniela Klette, and Burkhard Garweg. Photo: BKA

In their struggle against capitalism they once murdered businessmen and politicians. Now three ex-terrorists have taken to robbing supermarkets - and rather successfully, too.

Scooter singer finally reveals how much the fish cost
H.P. Baxxter. Photo: DPA

It is the question Germans have wanted to know the answer to for almost two decades - and now they have the answer, thanks to a US talkshow host.

'I'm definitely not a paedophile': disgraced MP
Former MP Sebastian Edathy is in hiding after a child pornography scandal destroyed his career. Photo: DPA

Former MP Sebastian Edathy quit his job and left Germany after videos of naked children were found on his computer.

Weekend promises storms, humidity - and a bit of sun
A storm in Cuxhaven last weekend. Photo: DPA

The forecast for the coming days isn’t the pristine blue skies many of us are longing for. But, in among the storms, the sun will still peek out.

Prosecutors take aim at unedited Hitler book
An original edition of 'Mein Kampf' featuring a photo of Hitler on an inside cover. Photo: DPA

German prosecutors said on Thursday they were investigating whether to bring charges against a publisher who has promised to print a version of Adolf Hitler's anti-Semitic manifesto "Mein Kampf" without annotations.

VW bets on battery factory for electric car dominance
A VW logo is seen in front of a plugged-in electric car. Photo: DPA

Scandal-hit car giant Volkswagen is set to sink huge sums into building a factory for batteries to power its future electric cars, German media reported on Friday.

Sponsored Article
Eat, learn, live: unforgettable holidays in France
Pegida enraged by black children on chocolate bars
New father's tragic herpes warning touches 1000s online
Monsanto takeover would be 'diabolical': environmentalists
10 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
MP recites explicit Erdogan bestiality poem on live TV
China beats Germany in readiness to help refugees
Headless Lübeck corpse turns out to be discarded sex doll
Pensioner claims to have found hidden Nazi nukes
Business & Money
Here's why Munich is worth 20 times more than Berlin
Five sure-fire ways to impress Germans with your manners
6 things about Munich that will stay with you forever
Church plans to connect with faithful at Wi-Fi 'Godspots'
Online hate speech can cost users thousands of Euros
Bavarians in rush for non-lethal weapons licenses
Here's Germany's Mannschaft for Euro 2016
The Syrian pianist playing his way into Germans' hearts
The parrot who flew fast enough to trigger a speed camera
New law could let free Wi-Fi bloom across Germany
Berlin's plans to beef up the German army
Lufthansa's Euro 2016 ad takes aim at England
Supermarkets must pay massive fine for fixing beer prices
4/20: Five things to know about weed in Germany
Police break up hipster swarm at vegan restaurant opening
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd