Berlin – Anti-Islam and anti-refugee protesters are expected to take to the streets across Germany on Monday, hoping to boost their ranks after last week’s terrorist attacks in Paris.
The weekly demonstrations organized by Pegida, or Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West, have been steadily swelling since they were launched about three months ago. About 18 000 people marched in Dresden – the focus of the protests – a week ago.
Protests are also set to be held on Monday in other parts of the country, including in Hanover and Kassel, as well in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s own eastern German electorate.
Authorities in Dusseldorf plan to turn off all the lights in the town hall on Monday to distance the western German city from Pegida.
Counter demonstrations are also planned by Pegida opponents, who turned out in large numbers a week ago to make a stand against the anti-Islam and anti-refugees rallies.
The weekly Pegida protests are being closely followed by European governments concerned about a backlash against Muslims after last week’s massacre by Islamist gunmen at the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine in Paris.