Anti-racism groups counter rising PEGIDA protests in Europe

Anti-Islam group, PEGIDA holds rally's in Europe, moving anti-racism groups to counter rally against group's demagoguery

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Opponents of the anti-Islam movement Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West (PEGIDA) take part in a demonstration in Dresden, Germany on February 6, 2016.

Anti-Islam organisation, PEGIDA, drew residents to the eastern city of Dresden, Germany on Saturday to march across Europe in support of the movement against refugees.

PEGIDA supporters rallied in a number of European cities, including Prague, Czech Republic and Calais, France, which is home to the “Jungle” refugee camp that seen as a potential passage to channel into Britain.

PEGIDA had joined anti-Muslim groups to initiate the rallies after agreeing to create a “Fortress Europe” coalition last month against Europe’s high refugee influx.

The banks of the River Elbe, which flows through the city of Dresden were occupied with several thousand PEGIDA supporters, to protest against mass immigration and the so-called “Islamisation” of Europe.

The movement’s founder, Lutz Bachmann was absent in the rally.

Police said that they deployed approximately 1,000 officers for the protest, expecting some 15,000 marchers to show up, but only several thousand showed up, according to local German media sources.

Many protestors came with banners criticising German Chancellor Angela Merkel over Germany’s influx of more than a million refugees last year.

"We must succeed in guarding and controlling Europe's external borders as well as its internal borders once again," said PEGIDA member Siegfried Daebritz.

Meanwhile, more than 2,000 people joined an anti-PEGIDA rally, at which marchers urged tolerance towards refugees from war-torn districts.

Anti-PEGIDA protestors compared the far-right group to Nazis and chanted slogans, including “we don’t need xenophobia, demagoguery or PEGIDA.”

The PEGIDA march in Calais brought forward some 20 arrests, local authorities said, and police responded with tear gas as scuffles broke out.

In Prague, 5,000 people joined the rally, organised by two far right groups, an AFP journalist said that the rally lead to the arrest of four people.

Scuffles broke out in Dublin between people who gathered to protest against the Launch of PEGIDA in Ireland, and those who supported the launch.

A dozen demonstrators from PEGIDA and an opposition group, were also arrested in Amsterdam by riot police, both groups had consisted of a few hundred protesters.

A large black and yellow banner saying “Refugees Welcome” was put up by an anti-PEGIDA group.

Police said that only 150 PEGIDA supporters turned out in England’s Birmingham.

Other demonstrations took place in Warsaw, Bratislava and Graz in Austria.

Police officers detain a violent protester near the railway station of Calais, France



TRTWorld and agencies