Every Monday night the German anti-Islamization group PEGIDA (Patriotische Europäer Gegen die Islamisierung des Abendlandes, Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West) stages a rally in Dresden city center. Similar rallies occur in other German cities (e.g. BOGIDA in Bonn and DÜGIDA in Düsseldorf), also on Monday nights.
Tonight’s rally in Dresden reportedly drew 17,500 grassroots protesters. I don’t have any extensive reports yet in English, but here are some links:
- BOGIDA counter-protesters clash with police after crashing demo (video)
- Dresden: people singing (video)
- 17,500 people attend the PEGIDA march in Dresden
Concerning this German TV news report on the PEGIDA demonstration in Dresden (and the counter-demonstrators), Rembrandt Clancy has kindly provided this summary:
The anchor, Judith Rakers, announces that again thousands of PEGIDA demonstrators gathered to demonstrate against an “alleged Islamisation of the West”. Parallel to that, thousands of counter-demonstrations have taken place in several cities “against racism and exclusion”. The President of the Council of the Evangelical Churches in Germany, Bedford-Strohm, warned against demonising PEGIDA and “urged a discussion which deals with substantive content”.
At that point we hear the Christmas Carols, which the reporter on location says are being sung before the Semperoper [opera house] in Dresden. The first woman interviewed says she is there because of the ignorance and mendacity of their politicians. The reporter then says that thousands of counter-demonstrators are separated from the PEGIDA demonstrators only by a police cordon.
The first (female) counter-demonstrator refers to PEGIDA’s action as inhuman. They remind her of the Nazis. The second counter-demonstrator refers to the majority of Dresdeners as having a cosmopolitan tolerance. She says they welcome refugees.
The scene switches to the Dresden Kreutzkirche [which is Lutheran]. The reporter describes the gathering as a protest against PEGIDA and their singing of Christmas carols.
Then Jochen Bohl is interviewed. He is a state bishop for the Evangelical Lutheran State Church of Saxony. He finds it unaesthetic when people use Christmas carols to put across a political message. He says it is not the meaning of Christmas nor of the carols, and for that reason he takes a very critical stance against it.
The reporter closes by saying that PEGIDA polarises, also on this Monday when Dresden is far removed from Christmas peace.