PEGIDA to hold demonstration against refugees in Germany

PEGIDA to organize rally in its stronghold Dresden as tension escalates in EU over growing refugee influx

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Pegida started out in mid- October with a demonstration in Dresden attended by about 200 supporters. On 22 December there were a record 17,500 in attendance.

Protesters from Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West (PEGIDA) will gather in Dresden on Monday as Angela Merkel and her party are under criticism for their policy on refugees.

It is expected that the rally will take place at 1600 GMT in PEGIDA's stronghold of Dresden, a year after its formation.

The protest comes a day after a populist Swiss People's party, known for its virulent campaigns against immigrants, won a record number of seats in the Swiss parliamentary elections on Sunday, in another sign that shows rise of right wing parties across Europe.

The rally also follows a knife attack against an independent German mayoral candidate Henriette Reker who was newly elected as the mayor of Cologne.

The attacker, who has been close to the extreme right in the 1990s arrested at the scene, confessing his racist motivations for the assault according to police.

In the last week’s PEGIDA protests, far right supporters of the movement slammed Angela Merkel as “the most dangerous woman in Europe.”

German Chancellor and one of her deputies were also described as "Berlin dictators" and "traitors" in a mock-gallows as demonstrators called for Merkel’s resignation.

Despite all the critics, Angela Merkel has been making efforts to deal with the biggest refugee influx into Europe since World War II.

Merkel arrived in Turkey on Sunday to meet with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to find a common solution for growing refugee crisis in Europe.  

During the meeting with Turkish president, Merkel hailed Ankara for opening its doors to over 2 million Syrian and Iraqi refugees and vowed to push forward its long-stalled European Union membership bid.

EU demands from Turkey to do more to tighten border controls to reduce the flow of refugees into Europe.

Ankara is asking for visa-free access into Europe for Turkish citizens, an increase in financial help and an acceleration of its stuttering drive for EU membership.

Following the talks Merkel said the EU and Turkey agreed to work closer "on dynamising the accession process" towards Turkey's EU membership and also visa liberalisation for Turkish citizens who want to travel EU's Schengen zone.

"The talks in that direction are very promising and will be continued," Merkel said.


TRTWorld and agencies