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Dresden tolerance concert draws 22,000

DPA/The Local · 27 Jan 2015, 08:17

Published: 27 Jan 2015 08:17 GMT+01:00

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Police said that 22,000 people gathered “completely peacefully” to hear artists and bands including Germany's biggest-selling singer Herbert Grönemeyer.

Grönemeyer said that he understood the disillusionment of some Pegida supporters with politics, but couldn't accept “that as a target and projection of these fears that you have, to suddenly seek out a religion.

“We've already had that once before,” he warned.

Pegida organizers held their regular Monday “evening stroll” a day early this week, but there were a number of the group's supporters among the concert-goers waving German and Saxon flags.

One small group chanted “We Are the People” (Wir Sind das Volk) – a slogan borrowed from the 1989 demonstrations in the German Democratic Republic – while others held signs reading “Islam does not belong to Saxony”.

In other cities, large numbers of counter-demonstrators blocked Pegida events.

Frankfurt saw a crowd of 3,000 people block around 70 Pegida demonstrators from marching through the city.

And in Bremen 7,000 people gathered in a demonstration for tolerance in their city, while Munich and Leipzig saw gatherings of around 2,000 each.

Spiegel reported that 29 people were injured in Hanover at a clash between members of Pegida offshoot Hagida and counter-demonstrators.

After police and demonstrators sprayed one another with pepper spray and both sides threw fireworks and bottles - injuring 24 officers and five demonstrators - 22 Hagida participants and 29 counter-demonstrators were arrested.

SEE ALSO: New anti-Islam march draws 17,000 people

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DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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