Pegida, hooligans and Salafists march at once

Hooligans, Salafists, Pegida and left-wing counter-demonstrators all descended on the west German town of Wuppertal on Saturday in the first time the groups have all held simultaneous events.

Pegida, hooligans and Salafists march at once
Demonstration against extremism in Wuppertal. Photo: DPA

There were fears that Wuppertal would become the scene of widespread violence, as right wing extremists, Salafists, and counter-demonstrators all mobilized their followers on the city's central streets.

But police reported that the marches passed off without significant violence.

The police had brought 1,000 officers onto the streets to ensure that the rival groups were kept apart. According to the German police union (DPolG), this was the largest police operation Wuppertal had seen in decades.

“I am very happy with how this difficult day went,” Wuppertal police spokeswoman Birgitta Radermacher said in a statement.

“There were no injuries. I thank all the police officers who were there and I'm happy that I could send them back home in full health.”

Several thousand protesters turned up for the event. But, most of these – around 2,000 – turned up to oppose the extremist movements.

Around 200 Salafists turned out for a march against “the incarceration of Muslims worldwide.”

The Pegida and hooligan marches, called in reaction to the Salafist march, reached a number of 800.

Wuppertal police reported that eight people were taken into custody and that officers used pepper spray at the edges of the Pegida demonstration.