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Pegida: a look at the anti-Islam protests dividing Germany by targetting refugee crisis

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 14 February 2017, 5:14 IST
Recently, as Germany braced refugee influx from Syria and the Middle East, right-wing group 'Pegida' in Germany has been gaining ground and creating a divide for political gains.

What is Pegida?

Pegida is an umbrella campaign group for the German right wing, bringing together broad support from the far-right to the conservatives.

Pegida stands for "Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West" (in German: Patriotische Europaer Gegen die Islamisierung des Abendlandes).

It holds street protests against what it perceives to be a pernicious rise in the influence of Islam over European countries, which in turn erodes Western cultural identity. But it also has more general complaints about immigration and asylum seekers

Akin to Indian right-wing movement?

Pegida has attracted thousands of Germans to its rallies since the group formed in October 2014 when it held its first protest in Dresden.

The group has been linked to violence, including a knife attack on a group of young migrants at a shopping mall after the December Dresden rally.

And it has attracted support from hooligans and neo-Nazi groups.

Counter-protests against Pegida have also formed in many cities. For its first protests 350 supporters marched through Dresden.

What do Pegida activists say:

Pegida supporters say people need to wake up to the threat from Islamist extremists. They want Germany to curb immigration, accusing the authorities of failing to enforce existing laws.

A record 25,000 attended the Pegida march in Dresden on 12 January 2015.

First published: 11 January 2016, 10:03 IST