Europe

Anti-Islam 'Pegida' rally in Dresden sees record turnout

  • 23 December 2014
  • From the section Europe
Media captionDemonstrators sang carols and listened to speeches about immigrants, as Laura Westbrook reports

A record 17,500 people have turned out for the latest "anti-Islamisation" rally in the German city of Dresden, according to police estimates.

Demonstrators sang Christmas carols and listened to speeches about immigrants and asylum seekers.

Weekly rallies by a group called Patriotic Europeans against the Islamisation of the West, or Pegida, began in October.

Several counter-demonstrations were being held on Monday.

Chancellor Angela Merkel and other senior politicians have spoken out against the Pegida rallies.

Image caption Monday evening's Pegida rally in Dresden was the largest to date
Image caption Demonstrators gathered in front of the Semper Opera House to rally against "Islamisation"
Image caption Organisers say they are against extremism, but the rallies have drawn support from far-right groups
Image caption There were counter-demonstrations in Dresden, Munich and Kessel
Image caption The Bavarian State Opera House hung banners in support of "humanity, respect and diversity"

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