Minister condemns Dresden anti-Islam demo

Supporters of Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamification of the Occident take part in a rally in Dresden, Germany. Picture: AFP. Source: AFP

“There are still limits in the political battle of ideas”, Justice Minister Heiko Mass said on Tuesday after a march by anti-Islam group Pegida in Dresden on Monday night.

“All political parties should distance themselves clearly from these protests”, Maas told Spiegel.

“We can’t be silent if a xenophobic atmosphere is being built on the backs on people who have already lost everything and come to us looking for help,” he added, referring to the fact that Germany’s welcoming of large numbers of refugees has sparked many recent demonstrations.

“We have to be clear: these demonstrators are not in the majority.”

Police said that 10,000 people took part in the “Patriotic Europeans against the Islamisation of the West” (Pegida) demonstration, while 9,000 took part in a counter-demonstration.

Appearances on the streets by the group are becoming a weekly occurence, with 7,000 marching last time…

Related: Germany’s interior ministers to confer after massive anti-Islam march  Ralf Jaeger, a Social Democrat and head of the interior ministers‘ conference…told the newspaper that the movement was causing growing concern among the interior ministers, and that an investigation would be launched into the make-up and motivation of the anti-Islam groups emerging on the German political landscape.