Tens of thousands of people who support Germany’s anti-Islam movement, Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West (PEGIDA), gathered today in eastern German city of Dresden to mark its first year anniversary.
Police said via tweet that a PEGIDA supporter was seriously wounded and hospitalized, also adding that a counter-demonstrator was detained.
PEGIDA supporters who gathered in downtown Dresden, the birthplace of the movement, chanted "resistance, resistance!" Demonstrators were also carrying placards with images and slogans like "Go Merkel: you give the Judas kiss."
"Politicians insult us, they distort us. We are threatened with murder but we are still here. We will stay on to win, and we will win," co-founder of the movement Lutz Bachmann said and added that he believes about 39,000 supporters had taken part in the protests.
German officials have accused the group of trying to spread fear of immigration and refugees throughout the country over the past few months.
PEGIDA supporters also waved the national flag and chanted slogans such as "Hell comes with fake refugees" and "Every people should have their own country, not every person is a piece of Germany".
"Deport! Deport!" and "Merkel must go!"
Tensions have been cranked up much higher in the recent months, due to Merkel’s recent policy on refugees. More than 520 incidents have been recorded since the beginning of the year.
Pegida protest about to start. Thousands of people in the centre of Dresden. Many anti-Merkel slogans pic.twitter.com/197dfkoQZu
— Thomas Sparrow (@Thomas_Sparrow) 19 October 2015
Before the PEGIDA protests, Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert said, “The chancellor has already reacted to such demonstrations in her 2015 New Year’s speech, and I will repeat it here as it is unfortunately still valid, "Don’t follow those who have hate in their hearts."