Germany's Leipzig With 15,000 Anti-Islam ProtestersEU | January 22, 2015, Thursday // 13:22| views
Leipzigers and guests of the city (L) gather to protest participants of `Legida`, a local offshoot of the anti-Islam `Pegida` (Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West) movement, arriving for their demonstration in Leipzig, Germany. Photo
German anti-Islam movement LEGIDA took on the streets of Leipzig with around 15,000 protesters on Wednesday evening.
German police deployed 4,000 police officers across the city, as reported by public broadcaster BNT.bg. Estimates by German weekly Der Spiegel suggest there were more than 20 000 people flocked to Leipzig's main boulevards in a “counter-protest” against LEGIDA's demands.
''I would like to show that everyone is welcome in Leipzig. The color of someone's skin, religion or sexual orientation are not important. When you're in Leipzig, you are just a regular citizen,'' said Leipzig Mayor Burkhard Jung. He joined the counter-protest movement.
''My father came from the Czech Republic. I am not protesting against the people who come to Leipzig to build their new lives here. I am against people who are trying to wage a religious wars. We don't want this kind of people,'' Renate Hauser, a LEGIDA supporter said.
The Monday protest of the Dresden's PEGIDA, the organization which had been the first German entity to stage mass demonstrations against Islamisation last year, was cancelled due to an alleged terrorist threat. PEGIDAexpected between 40 and 60,000 people to show up. They however expressed their disappointment by the small number of people on the protest.
The leader of PEGIDA stepped down on Wednesday after a scandalous photo, depicting him as Hitler, was published in newspapers across Germany.
LEGIDA for its part is among a number of “local” PEGIDA offshoots purporting to act in a fashion similar to the Dresiden organization.
However, PEGIDA (an acronym for “European Patriots against the Islamisation of the West”), does not unconditionally throw its support behind the Leipzig structure, with the former movement's spokesperson Kathrin Oertel arguing LEGIDA's actions had not been coordinated with Dresden.
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