Thousands attend anti-Islamization protest in Germany
Police in Dresden said about 17, 500 people attended Monday’s protest organized by the Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West group

A large number of people are continuing to join protests organized by an anti-Islamization right wing group in eastern German city of Dresden every Monday.

The protests are being organized by the Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West or the Pegida, a group which some analysts believe thrives on anti-Muslim and anti-refugee rhetoric.

Police in Dresden said about 17, 500 people attended last Monday’s protest, which was the largest turnout for the right wing group so far. Last week, around 15,000 people had attended the Pegida demonstration.

On Monday, the Pegida supporters gathered in front of Dresden's opera house and chanted slogans against German Chancellor Angela Merkel's immigration policy.

The group held banners that said "Country protection instead of Islamization."

Far-right National Democratic Party of Germany members also joined Pegida in its demonstration.

Anti-Pegida demo

Around the same time, some 4,500 people also held a counter demonstration in Dresden in response to the Pegida protest. They held banners that said: "Our culture is to love people by our side," "Against racism and fanaticism" and "I am not Nazi, so what?"

Similar demonstrations were also held in the southern city of Munich that were attended by about 12,000 people.

"We are here to show that there are people in Dresden who stand against Pegida," an anti-Pegida demonstrator, Patrick Jurgen, said.

Another counter demonstrator said Pegida had tarnished Germany's image. "Germany is one of the richest countries in the world. No refugee should be sent back," he said.

"We support efforts to accept more refugees in Germany. Pegida is a shame for Germany," he added.

Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroder told Couragiert Magazine that reasonable resistance should be held against Pegida.

According to a study by a German think tank, Friedrich Ebert Foundation, 18.2 percent of Germans support measures to prevent Muslim immigrants into Germany. The research, conducted between June and September, gathered the views of 1,915 citizens aged between 16 and 95.

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Last Modified: 2014-12-24 11:14:57
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