Thou­sands demon­strate in Dres­den against racism on PEGIDA an­niver­sary

Iran Daily - - International -

Around 3,000 peo­ple in the eastern Ger­man city of Dres­den protested against xeno­pho­bia and racism on Satur­day as mem­bers of the anti-is­lam PEGIDA move­ment at­tempted to cel­e­brate the group’s third an­niver­sary.

Tech­ni­cal prob­lems and a cold Oc­to­ber shower damp­ened and de­layed PEGIDA’S main rally in the city’s Theater­platz by an hour, re­ported.

By the time PEGIDA founder Lutz Bach­mann be­gan ad­dress­ing the crowd, sev­eral sup­port­ers had al­ready va­cated the area due to the stormy weather, re­ported Ger­man news agency DPA.

Sev­eral newly elected, far-right Al­ter­na­tive for Ger­many (AFD) par­lia­men­tar­i­ans also spoke at the rally. Sax­ony MP Heiko Hessenkem­per told the crowd that the AFD would “fight for the end of the plun­der and ex­tinc­tion of Ger­many.”

The AFD gar­nered around 27 per­cent of the vote in the eastern state of Sax­ony dur­ing Ger­many’s na­tional elec­tions in Septem­ber, beat­ing An­gela Merkel’s Chris­tian Democrats (CDU).

An es­ti­mated 3,000 peo­ple in to­tal took part in the PEGIDA demon­stra­tion, mark­ing three years since the anti-im­mi­grant move­ment be­gan its reg­u­lar ral­lies to protest against im­mi­gra­tion, refugees and Is­lam. PEGIDA is the Ger­man acro­nym for Peo­ple Against the Is­lamiza­tion of the West.

Peace­ful protests

Thou­sands of peo­ple in Dres­den also turned out on the streets on a stormy Satur­day to demon­strate against the PEGIDA an­niver­sary, hold­ing prayers for peace in the city’s fa­mous Frauenkirche.

March­ing un­der the ban­ner “for a Dres­den with­out racism,” the counter-demon­stra­tors took part in a rally against racism, xeno­pho­bia and “in­cite­ment.”

“It is im­por­tant to show where the red lines are — where dis­in­hi­bi­tion is no longer tol­er­a­ble,” Dres­den Mayor Dirk Hil­bert told the pro­test­ers.

Po­lice es­ti­mated around 3,500 coun­ter­demon­stra­tors took part in the anti-racism rally, re­gional pub­lic broad­caster MDR re­ported.

Around 600 po­lice of­fi­cers were on duty to pre­vent any clashes be­tween the two groups, but of­fi­cials said the protests re­mained peace­ful.

Dres­den Po­lice Com­mis­sioner Horst Kret­zschmar said it was “the calmest op­er­a­tion” po­lice had seen at a PEGIDA an­niver­sary. Sig­nif­i­cantly, fewer emer­gency ser­vices were needed than in the prior two years.

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