“Sink! Sink! Sink!” shouts a crowd at a rally of the far-right Pegida movement in the east German city of Dresden. The video of the incident, which has been circling online, is now the subject of a police investigation, state prosecutors confirmed to The Local on Tuesday.
It appears the crowd's chant refers to refugees and migrants crossing the Mediterranean and comes after speaker Siegfried Däbritz raises the subject of Mission Lifeline, a German volunteer boat which had until recently been rescuing migrants at sea.
“I’m sure you’ve heard what’s happening in the Mediterranean with our all-time favourite smuggler organization…right?” says speaker Däbritz.
“Absaufen!” chant the crowd, which translates in English to “sink.” The chant is repeated seven times before Däbritz interrupts:
“No, no, don’t sink,” he says with a grin. “We need the ship to take them all back again.”
At the time of the Pegida rally, on June 25th, the Mission Lifeline crew was at sea with 234 migrants waiting for a European port to allow it to dock.
Days later, it was given permission to land in Malta, where it was impounded. The boat's German captain, Claus-Peter Reisch, is now facing charges of sailing in Maltese waters without proper registration.
The full video
speech was first posted on June 25th on the Facebook account of Pegida founder Lutz Bachmann with the instructions “share, share, share.”
It was edited on Tuesday to remove the offending chant – but not before The Local was able to watch the full incident in context.
A spokesman for the Dresden public prosecutor’s office confirmed to The Local on Tuesday that police were investigating the incident after a tip-off from the Rheinische Post newspaper, which first reported the story.
Bachmann and Däbritz are co-founder of the anti-Islam, anti-immigration movement Pegida (Patriotic Europeans against the Islamification of the West) which has held weekly rallies in Dresden and other German cities since 2014.
Mission Lifeline co-founder Axel Steier told the newspaper
on Monday that he isn’t surprised by the Pegida crowd's behaviour, adding that the volunteers have to keep their Dresden office address secret for fear of being attacked.
Steier demanded Pegida rallies be shut down whenever crowds call for violence against refugees.