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French caricaturists target Pegida marchers

The Local · 12 Jan 2015, 08:23

Published: 12 Jan 2015 08:23 GMT+01:00

"We refuse to let Pegida profit from the memory of our colleagues", a spokesman for the cartoonists told DPA.

Organizers of the Pegida marches – an acronym for "Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West" - have leapt onto the Paris attacks as a chance to boost their numbers.

They called on participants in their planned demonstration on Monday evening to wear black armbands in mourning for the murdered journalists and cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo.

But the French illustrators – including one Charlie Hebdo employee, Dutch cartoonist Willem, who survived the attacks because he was out of the office – say that Pegida stands for everything their colleagues hated.

"We, the French and francophone illustrators, are appalled by the murder of our friends.

"And we're disgusted that far-right forces are trying to instrumentalize their deaths for their own purposes," they wrote.

One caricature shows a hyena, a jackal and a vulture sniffing at blood seeping out from the door of the Charlie Hebdo office.

The cartoonists say that "in this struggle, Dresden is a symbolic city just like Paris" - and call on Dresdeners to reconsider their views about Muslims.

While an estimated 35,000 people demonstrated in Dresden against Pegida on Saturday, the anti-Islam group is hoping to beat its record attendance at the euphemistically-named "evening strolls" of 18,000 last Monday.

And an attack on the Hamburger Morgenpost newspaper on Saturday, which had reprinted some Charlie Hebdo cartoons following the Paris massacre, is likely to ensure that feelings are running high at the march - and possibly draw more participants.

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Political leaders from left and right called on Pegida to cancel its Monday night demonstration.

"If the organizers had a shred of decency they would simply cancel these demonstrations", Justice Minister Heiko Maas of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) told Bild.

Christian Social Union (CSU) leader Horst Seehofer agreed, telling ARD television that "when the whole world is mourning and in shock over the events in Paris", Pegida leaders should "for the time being" cancel their rallies. 

SEE ALSO: Huge crowd mourns Hebdo victims in Berlin

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