PEGIDA stronghold German city Dresden heads to elections

Dresden, political foothold and stronghold city of PEGIDA, goes to polls on Sunday for municipal elections

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Voters will cast ballots after the current conservative mayor's resignation for health reasons. In June 22, 2008, the people of Dresden elected Helma Orosz, from Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU) party, as their Mayor. She received 64 percent of the vote.

Days before the election, around 2,000 supporters attended a campaign rally for PEGIDA candidate Tatjana Festerling.

Festerling cultivates an "Ossie" (Easterner) identity among her fellow residents of Dresden, which for decades was closed off in communist East Germany complaining of people “the deadly poisoning which destroys the peoples of Europe is Islam, and against that, these people don't go out to demonstrate."

Weekly demonstrations of PEGIDA, short for "Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West," have been participated by thousands.

Last week has rallied up to 25,000 people on the streets of the eastern German city Dresden.

Dutch far-right and anti-Islamic populist lawmaker Geert Wilders came to Dresden in April to support Festerling.

Leading the race is Eva-Maria Stange, who is standing as a sole candidate for the Social Democrats, Greens and far-left Linke. She told AFP she was "saddened" by recent events in her city.

"Dresden must remain a city open to the world. We need people from other countries," she said.

According to AFP the crowd fluttered dozens of German flags, while placards focused on a gamut of issues from the "lying press," to decrying Islam and the other political parties, or depicting Chancellor Angela Merkel dressed as "Fatima" in a headscarf and President Joachim Gauck as "Uncle Asylum" and showed him dressed in a turban.

PEGIDA is a German basis far-right, anti-Islam political organisation founded in Dresden in October 2014 which the group’s chair is vacant but administrative issues are taken hold by vice-chair Rene Jahn.

PEGIDA also demonstrates in other countries too including Sweden, the United Kingdom, France and Austria which is calling for more restrictive immigration rules, particularly for Muslims. 

Some of PEGIDA members are showing themselves as Nazist.

Last month, according to police 200 supporters of the PEGIDA showed up at a rally held in Ressel Park in the Center of Vienna, while six people were arrested for giving “Nazi Salutes.”

TRTWorld and agencies