“We don’t want a flood of asylum seekers, we don’t want Islamization. We want to keep our country with our values. Is that so terrible? Does that make us Nazis? Is it a crime to be a patriot?”– Michael Stuerzenberger, leading German counter-jihadist.
IB Times (h/t Maria J) Fifteen thousand people marched in the eastern German city of Dresden on Monday (15 December) in protest against “asylum cheaters” and the rising “Islamisation” of the West. One of the demonstrators, Michael Stuerzenberger, said that while he is not opposed to the asylum for refugees, “70 percent of people claiming political asylum here are economic refugees. We don’t want to stay silent about this anymore.
Marking a 50% rise in attendance since the demonstration last Monday, the founder of the PatrioticEuropeans Against the Islamisation of the Occident (PEGIDA), Lutz Bachmann, addressed the protestors saying: “The people are with us! Everywhere now, in every news rag, on every senseless talk show, they are debating, and the most important thing is: the politicians can no longer ignore us!
SMH A new grassroots movement that assails the German government for ignoring its fears of being overrun by Muslims and other immigrants attracted a record 15,000 marchers on Monday in the eastern city of Dresden. The fast-growing movement that calls itself PEGIDA, or Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West, has drawn support from the far right, as well as some ordinary Germans alarmed by a sharp rise in refugees, many fleeing conflict in the Middle East.
The rallies have spread rapidly across Germany since starting with a social-media appeal in Dresden two months ago. They are now beginning to unsettle the German political establishment, which has spent decades restoring Germany’s image as an open, tolerant country after the devastation of the Nazis.
“The politicians in Germany have lost touch with the people and that’s why they can’t comprehend what’s happening here,” Lutz Bachmann, the 41-year-old gravel-voiced leader of the movement, told marchers from a makeshift stage.
At the rally on Monday, he lashed out at the media for what he said were lies about the movement, eliciting chants of “Luegenpresse! Luegenpresse!” (media lies) from a fired-up group of demonstrators, mostly white men over 40 wearing shabby clothing. Mr Bachmann started PEGIDA in October to protest plans to add 14 centres for roughly 2000 refugees in Dresden.
The number of asylum-seekers in Germany has surged to 200,000 this year, more than any other Western country, due in part to an influx of Syrians. Even though foreigners are scarce in Dresden and the Saxony region compared with other parts of Germany, Mr Bachmann’s protest reverberated and his Monday rallies have grown from a few hundred to 10,000 a week ago and now to 15,000.
Marchers on Monday carried banners reading “Courage for the truth”, “Stop immigrants abusing our social welfare system” and “We miss our country”. They chanted: “If you don’t love Germany, leave it” and “We’re the people” – the slogan used by pro-democracy demonstrators whose marches in eastern cities such as Dresden led to the fall of the Berlin Wall 25 years ago.
Germany’s Justice Minister Heiko Maas, a leading figure in the centre-left Social Democrats, has called the movement a disgrace for the country.