Pegida Protest Dresden Oct 2015

German Government Steps up Criticism of Anti-Islam Group

Authorities in the eastern city of Dresden stepped up security precautions Monday for the first anniversary of PEGIDA amid warnings from senior German officials that the anti-Islam group is stirring up hatred that could lead to violence.

A surge of migrants to Germany over the summer has fueled a revival of fortunes for the group — whose name stands for “Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West” — with crowds to weekly rallies growing steadily.

Last week’s protest in Dresden attracted up to 9,000 people. That’s still far below the peak of 25,000 who rallied there in January, but observers worry the crowd is becoming more radical. One protester carried a mock gallows with nooses marking them as “reserved” for Chancellor Angela Merkel and her deputy, Sigmar Gabriel.