Record 17,000 join nationalist march in Germany

Make no mistake about it, Europe in general — and not just Germany — is one islamic attack away from making an extreme right turn.

 

A record 17,000 people have joined the latest in a string of demonstrations against Islam in Dresden, eastern Germany, celebrating the rise of their far-right populist movement by singing Christmas carols.

The march on Monday night was organised by Patriotic Europeans Against Islamisation of the West – a group that has grown rapidly since its first protest in October.

Politicians from all major parties have been stunned by the emergence of the right-wing nationalists who vent their anger against what they consider a broken immigration and asylum system.

Most Pegida followers insist they are not Nazis but patriots who worry about the “watering down” of their Christian-rooted culture and traditions. They often accuse mainstream political parties of betraying them and the media of lying.

Braving cold and wet weather, they gathered outside the historic Semperoper concert hall for their pre-Christmas recital. Police put their numbers at about 17,500, up from the previous high of 15,000 a week earlier.

The management of the opera house signalled its distaste by turning the building’s lights off and flying flags outside that read: “Open your eyes”, “Open your hearts”, “Open doors” and “Human dignity is sacrosanct”, the first line of the national constitution.

Police reported no major violence but said eight people were temporarily detained after confrontations in Kassel, reported German news agency DPA.

The movement has emerged at a time when Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, has become the continent’s top destination for asylum seekers, and the world’s number two destination for migrants after the United States.

The influx of refugees from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and several African and Balkan countries has strained local governments, which have scrambled to house the newcomers in old schools, office blocks and army barracks.

Full article: Record 17,000 join nationalist march in Germany (The Guardian)

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