German Anti-Islam Group’s Anniversary Rally Ends in Violence

Frank Jordans, Yahoo! News, October 19, 2015

Violence flared in the eastern city of Dresden after German anti-Islam group PEGIDA staged a rally to mark its first anniversary Monday.

Scuffles broke out when police tried to separate far-right protesters and counter-demonstrators attempting to block their path. Marko Laske, a spokesman for city police, said one person was hospitalized and a counter-demonstrator was detained.

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Many in the crowd held banners with slogans such as “refugees not welcome.” Speakers who touched on the issue of migration elicited chants of “send them back.”

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Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere told public broadcaster ARD late Sunday that the domestic intelligence service was monitoring PEGIDA and called its leaders “hard far-right extremists.”

Monday’s protest drew a bigger crowd than the previous week, when some 9,000 joined the rally. Organizers claimed almost 40,000 attended.

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Germany has seen a surge in violence against migrants and asylum shelters in recent months. More than 520 incidents were recorded since the start of the year, compared with fewer than 200 in all of 2014.

Security officials have noted that only about a third of the suspects were known far right elements, while two-thirds were people who had no previous brush with the law.

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