• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Tens of thousands rally against anti-Islam group

AFP · 10 Jan 2015, 19:10

Published: 10 Jan 2015 19:10 GMT+01:00

Organisers said they estimated the turn-out at around 35,000, nearly double the 18,000 counter-demonstrators who protested last Monday against the weekly marches held in east Germany by the so-called Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the Occident (PEGIDA). The movement opposes what it claims to be the Islamisation of Europe.

"I didn't come because I am against the people going to the PEGIDA demonstrations, but because I am not afraid of people whose skin colour o customs are ... different than mine," Dresden's conservative Mayor Helma Orosz said.

During the counter-protest, which included a minute of silence for the 17 victims in France, demonstrators carried signs emblazoned with the words "Help refugees", "We all laugh in the same language" and "Germany is for everyone".

Chancellor Angela Merkel deplored the rise of PEGIDA in her New Year's address, saying its leaders have "prejudice, coldness, even hatred in their hearts".

Nonetheless, in its rally planned on Monday "it is likely that there will be even more people" than the record 18,000 who joined its most recent rally, said Frank Richter, head of Dresden's civic education centre.

Victor Vincze, a senior city official on immigrants affairs, agreed that more people may be mobilised by the attacks on the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine in France that claimed 12 lives and the subsequent deadly hostage sieges. In all, during three days of violence in and around Paris, 17 people were killed, along with three hostage takers.  

Vincze told AFP that "there will be people who have stayed home so far and who will say: 'Look at what happened right in the heart of Europe, in Paris. This is not Baghdad or Sanaa. This will be emulated by others'". 

Activists have announced plans for PEGIDA spin-offs in Austria and Scandinavia, while other European far-right groups have voiced support for the German movement.

Political scientist Werner Patzelt of Dresden Technical University predicted that "it is likely that the 20,000-mark for demonstrators will be reached Monday".
   

"The Paris attacks will without doubt give the PEGIDA movement even more momentum, he said. "PEGIDA simply says to everyone who claimed that their nightmarish vision had nothing to do with reality that they must now realise that this fear is not unjustified."

PEGIDA said on its Facebook page that the killings at Charlie Hebdo in Paris confirmed its own views.
 

"The Islamists, which PEGIDA has been warning about for 12 weeks, showed France that they are not capable of democracy but rather look to violence and death as an answer," it said. "Our politicians want us to believe the opposite. Must such a tragedy happen here in Germany first???"
 

The movement has so far failed to strongly take root outside Dresden, in the former communist East Germany. Germany, Europe's most populous country with 80 million people, is home to about four million Muslims, mostly of Turkish origin.

Story continues below…

Several German Muslim groups have called for a silent march in Berlin on Monday to denounce violence and the risk of division of society.

President Joachim Gauck said this week that the Paris attacks "have shaken us, but not our beliefs", stressing that his message was aimed at the
perpetrators and their sympathisers, but also at "those who want to capitalise" on such tragedies.

PEGIDA has called on supporters to wear black armbands "as a sign of mourning for the terror victims in Paris" to the upcoming rally on Monday.

To limit the overwhelming burden on our moderators, it will not be possible to comment on this article. Feel free to join the conversation on our Facebook page.

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

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
Society
Pegida enraged by black children on chocolate bars
Health
New father's tragic herpes warning touches 1000s online
National
Monsanto takeover would be 'diabolical': environmentalists
Lifestyle
10 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
Politics
MP recites explicit Erdogan bestiality poem on live TV
National
China beats Germany in readiness to help refugees
Hamburg
Headless Lübeck corpse turns out to be discarded sex doll
National
Pensioner claims to have found hidden Nazi nukes
Business & Money
Here's why Munich is worth 20 times more than Berlin
Culture
Five sure-fire ways to impress Germans with your manners
Lifestyle
6 things about Munich that will stay with you forever
Technology
Church plans to connect with faithful at Wi-Fi 'Godspots'
Technology
Online hate speech can cost users thousands of Euros
Society
Bavarians in rush for non-lethal weapons licenses
Sport
Here's Germany's Mannschaft for Euro 2016
Culture
The Syrian pianist playing his way into Germans' hearts
The parrot who flew fast enough to trigger a speed camera
Technology
New law could let free Wi-Fi bloom across Germany
Politics
Berlin's plans to beef up the German army
Sport
Lufthansa's Euro 2016 ad takes aim at England
National
Supermarkets must pay massive fine for fixing beer prices
National
4/20: Five things to know about weed in Germany
Berlin
Police break up hipster swarm at vegan restaurant opening
7,831
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd