Thousands mass in Dresden for migrant rallies

2015-10-19 20:42
Lutz Bachmann. (Jens Meyer, AP)

Lutz Bachmann. (Jens Meyer, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Dresden - Thousands of people massed on Monday in the eastern German city of Dresden to mark the first anniversary of the anti-migrant movement PEGIDA, but just as many came out in counter-protest.

Carrying placards with images such as a picture of burqa-wearing women with a big cross over it, or slogans like "Go Merkel: you give the Judas kiss", PEGIDA supporters gathered in downtown Dresden, the birthplace of the movement.

One of them, Hannelore, told AFP: "We are here for our children and grandchildren. We are proud to be here and that many people are here. We are glad that people have the courage to speak out."

"Pegida is not a brown-shirt movement. Never," said the protester in her sixties, referring to the Nazis, adding that "Frau Merkel is driving our country against the wall."

Pegida - short for "Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the Occident" - started life as a xenophobic Facebook group centred around co-founder Lutz Bachmann, 42.

At its peak, the movement attracted 25 000 at its weekly gatherings in January, before interest began to wane, not least because of Bachmann's online racist slurs and the surfacing of "selfies" in which he sported a Hitler moustache.

But Pegida has seen some revival in recent weeks as Germany gears up to welcome up to a million asylum seekers this year.

But counter-protesters also sought to make sure their voices were heard on Monday as they turned up in their thousands in Dresden.

Hans, 75, told AFP he made it a point to be present because "Pegida is celebrating its birthday and we think that it is very important for the majority of the population to not join Pegida, and to show that they don't agree with the movement."

Ahead of the Pegida march, Chancellor Angela Merkel reiterated a call for citizens to shun "those with hate in their hearts".

"The chancellor has already reacted to such demonstrations in her 2015 New Year's speech, and I would repeat it here as it is unfortunately still valid: 'Don't follow those who have hate in their hearts," said Merkel's spokesperson Steffen Seibert.

Read more on:    germany  |  migrants

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.