• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Anti-Islam demos spread to Berlin

Matthew Tempest · 5 Jan 2015, 14:38

Published: 05 Jan 2015 12:05 GMT+01:00
Updated: 05 Jan 2015 14:38 GMT+01:00

Calling itself "Berlin Patriots Against The Islamification of the West", or Bärgida, organisers are calling for a crowd of several hundred to assemble outside the city hall at 6.30 pm for a march to the Brandenburg Gate.

However, that figure is likely to be dwarfed by counter-demonstrations, organised by both the city's numerous anti-fascist activists and the capital's Turkish community - who hope to draw up to 11,000 marchers.

Police numbers are also likely to be deployed in large numbers to keep the two factions apart.

THE LOCAL WILL BE LIVE-TWEETING TONIGHT'S BÄRGIDA DEMONSTRATION - FOLLOW US ON TWITTER @TheLocalGermany from 1800

Meanwhile, all eyes will also be on Dresden, as the weekly Monday night "Pegida" marchers resume for their first demonstration of 2015.

After drawing some 17,500 on December 22nd - their last outing - attendance figures tonight will be crucial in gauging whether the movement has peaked, or continues to grow in strength.

Chancellor Angela Merkel used her New Year's address to the German people to specifically criticize the movement - a criticism echoed by President Joachim Gauck, and other mainstream politicians.

In her address, Merkel - herself a former East German - singled out the group's appropriation of the symbolism of the anti-communist protests of 1989, borrowing the slogan "We Are The People."

She said: "What they really mean is 'you are not one of us, because of your skin colour or your religion."

Church leaders also came out over the weekend against the use of Christian symbols by the demonstrators.

“Apparently a Christian character of our culture is to be defended by shutting people out. Whoever talks like that doesn't know what he's defending”, former President of the Lutheran World Federation Bishop Christian Krause told the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger.

“When I see people brandishing black, red and gold-painted crosses it horrifies me. That's really perverse.”

He was joined by former President of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) Nikolaus Schneider, who told the Rheinische Post that “Pegida is un-Christian starting from its objectives”.

“We can't defend the West if we decry Islam as the enemy”, he added. “Christians shouldn't go anywhere near these demonstrations.”

Story continues below…

However, the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) party have given the Pegida demonstrators qualified backing for marches which have - so far - been peaceful, whilst Merkel's sister Bavarian party, the Christian Social Union (CSU) suggested all immigrants should speak German in the home and called for faster processing and deportation of asylum-seekers whose claims are rejected.

The Pegida protestors make a point of refusing to speak to the media - whom they dub "Press Liars" - and are largely leaderless.

However, Berlin's demonstration has been organised by Dr Karl Schmitt, a former CDU activist in the Pankow district of the capital. So far on the Bärgida Facebook page, some 600 people have pledged to attend.

A smaller offshoot Pegida protest is also planned in Cologne on Monday night, while a weekly march in Berlin's Marzahn suburb against the construction of temporary accommodation for refugees has been cancelled.

SEE ALSO: Opinion: What Does Dresden Have Against Muslims?

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

Matthew Tempest (matthew.tempest@thelocal.com)

Today's headlines
Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
File photo: DPA

When a man swimming naked in a Bavarian lake felt a strange pain in his nether regions, he looked up to see a fisherman on the shore. "Don’t pull!" he shouted.

Study finds rival Rhineland beers 'actually taste the same'
Left: Altbier. Right: Kölsch. Or can you even tell? Photos: DPA.

Cologne and Düsseldorf have a long established rivalry, not least over who has the better home brew. So the results of a new study might be more than they can swallow.

Eastern Europe pushes Germany for joint EU army
Angela Merkel (l), Beata Szydlo and Victor Orban. Photo: DPA

Eastern EU countries on Friday pushed for the bloc to create a joint army as they met with Germany for talks on sketching Europe's post-Brexit future.

Merkel’s party mate wants to get rid of all Karl Marx streets
Karl Marx and one of the roadways in Berlin named for him. Photos: Wikimedia Commons, Nicor

Hundreds of streets are named after the founder of communism, but this conservative politician wants to give Marx the boot.

State elections
6 reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
Photo: DPA

With state elections around the corner, The Local looks at the poor side of Germany's "poor but sexy" capital city.

Upstarts RB Leipzig plan to go right to top of Bundesliga
RB Leipzig players celebrate scoring against Dynamo Dresden. Photo: DPA

RB Leipzig make their Bundesliga debut on Sunday, but the East German outfit, sponsored by energy drinks manufacturer Red Bull, are already far from popular in Germany's top-flight.

Poland criticizes Germany’s 'self-serving' foreign policy
Witold Waszczykowski. Photo: DPA

The Polish foreign minister has said that Germany all too often follows its own interests at the expense of its partners, as Chancellor Angela Merkel prepares to visit Warsaw.

Vast majority of Germans in favour of burqa ban: poll
Women wearing niqab veils in Saudi Arabia. Photo: DPA.

A survey found that the vast majority of respondents were in favour of Germany passing a ban on the full-body veil sometimes worn by Muslim women.

Czech police detain driver for harassing Merkel's motorcade
Angela Merkel. File photo: DPA

Czech police arrested a man on Thursday for attempting to drive into the motorcade of visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Prague, they said.

Teacher convicted for holding kids back after class
Photo: DPA

A music teacher from North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) has been found guilty of "holding people against their will" after he made some naughty stay kids back after class.

Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Gallery
Germany's 17 Olympic gold medals in pictures
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Culture
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Rhineland
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Culture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Lifestyle
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
14 facts you never knew about the Brandenburg Gate
Society
Ten times Germans proved they really, really love beer
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Lifestyle
What's on in Germany: events for August 2016
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
National
Six things you need to know when moving to Germany
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
Sponsored Article
Jordan Pass: your ticket to the experience of a lifetime
International
German scientists prove birds can sleep while flying
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
Technology
London v. Berlin: Which is better for startups?
Lifestyle
13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
Travel
Enter if you dare: Berlin's best abandoned haunts
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Lifestyle
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
National
How to get German citizenship (or just stay forever)
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
Technology
Brexit will turn Berlin into 'Europe’s startup capital'
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
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
Features
How two gay dads cut through German red tape to start a family
8,653
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd