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Pegida spokeswoman quits group: report

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Pegida spokeswoman quits group: report
Kathrin Oertel on talk show Günter Juach. Photo: DPA
15:29 CET+01:00
After the departure of their leader apparent over a photo of him styled as Adolf Hitler, more members of the central core of Germany's anti-Islamisation movement are leaving the flock, including its most recognisable face.

According to Stern news magazine, the so-called "orga-team" of the Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West, better known as Pegida, held a summit on Tuesday evening to discuss Lutz Bachmann's future involvement.

Bachmann stepped down after Facebook photos emerged showing him styled as Hitler.

 In the photo, Bachmann wore side-slicked hair and Hitler's trademark toothbrush moustache. It was captioned "He's back".

He had posted the images to the Facebook page of the actor who voiced the audio  book of "He's back", the satirical book detailing Hitler's return to life 66 years after his death and subsequent stroll through Berlin's Mitte district.

The reports also included Bachmann calling refugees "cattle" and "trash" in other Facebook comments captures in screen grabs by a former friend of Bachmann's. The Pegida leader initially called it all a joke, though stepped down the following day.

The result of Tuesday's meeting meant that at least four of its 12-strong central council is stepping away from the group, including Kathrin Oertel, the orga-team's most recognizable face.

As a result of the departures, this coming week's planned demonstration has been cancelled. 

Oertel had in recent weeks emerged as a spokesperson for the group, appearing on national news talk show Günter Jauch and making press statements following Bachmann's scandal.

Others who are reported to have stepped away include AfD member Achim Exner, economics expert Berd-Volker Lincke, and former Christian Democratic municipal politician from the city of Meißen Thomas Tallacker.

Renè Jahn, who has also given interviews defending Pegida, is also reported to have moved away from Bachmann.

Oertel had welcomed Bachmann's resignation.

"The Facebook posting that are just now known to us by Lutz Bachmann are something that we as a society strongly oppose. They do not help us reach our goals," she said in a statement following Bachmann's resignation and apology.

Where the group, which has lost momentum since its 25,000-strong march on January 12th, goes next has yet to be determined.

Despite promising to rise across Europe, copy-cat Pegida demonstrations have failed to take hold. Other Pegida demonstrations in Germany haven't gained traction after the peak in the wake of the terrorist shootings that killed 17 in France at the beginning of January.   

In the wake of the January 19th march in Dresden being cancelled following "credible jihadi threats" on Bachmann's life, organisers of Legida in Leipzig said they expected 60,000 marchers. Instead, 15,000 turned up.

In Cologne, a virus has caused the so-called Kögida march scheduled for Wednesday night to be cancelled after those who registered the demonstration called in sick.

SEE ALSO: Dresden tolerance concert draws 22,000

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