Pegida take to Dresden streets - to march against Pegida
DPA/The Local · 27 Sep 2016, 16:23
Published: 27 Sep 2016 16:23 GMT+02:00
Updated: 27 Sep 2016 16:23 GMT+02:00
The anti-Islam Pegida movement has been marching every Monday evening in Dresden since their inception almost two years ago.
But while it has until this point managed to remain solid in its consensus that Muslim immigrants and the politicians who allowed them to enter Germany are the enemy, a split at the party summit meant that this time the accusations were aimed at members of their own movement.
Around 60 followers of Tatjana Festerling, the former co-leader of the movement, congregated at the central station to protest against Pegida founder and leader Lutz Bachmann.
Meanwhile a more sizeable group of around 2,500 people joined Bachmann’s traditional protest, which accused Festerling of causing division within the movement.
Close by one another, personal insults flew between the two groups including accusations of being Volksverräter (traitors to the people), an insult normally reserved for Chancellor Angela Merkel and her Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel.
Threats of physical violence were also heard.
Speaking to his followers, Bachmann asked if he still had their support, and received loud approval. He then asked the crowd to raise their hands if they believed Festerling should resign from her position as spokesperson of the far-right “Fortress Europe” movement.
Festerling responded by accusing Bachmann of being a “megalomaniac”, saying that she saw it as her duty to "save what can be saved" from the movement.
Bachmann in turn repeated an accusation that Festerling had been embezzling donations.
The dispute between the two movement leaders came into the open earlier in September in embarrassing style when Festerling revealed that Bachmann had left Germany for the Spanish island of Tenerife.
She claimed that he only came back every couple of weeks for “a show of resistance” at the Dresden marches.
Bachmann defended himself at the time by claiming that he was pursuing work opportunities on the sunny island, adding that his wife felt unsafe in their home outside Dresden after people had attempted to break into it on several occasions.