Merkel slams ‘mud-slinging’ anti-Islam demo

A weekly “Europeans Against Islamization of the Occident” (Pegida) march is expected to draw more participants than ever before on Monday night as politicians dither over how to deal with the growing movement.

“Of course there’s freedom to demonstrate in Germany,” Merkel said in Berlin on Monday. “But it’s no place for agitation and mud-slinging against people who come to us from other countries.

unnamed-9Counter-demonstrators: One sign in English reads “refugees welcome”. The sign at the upper left in German says “I am not a Nazi, but… but what?”

“That’s why everyone should watch out that they aren’t being instrumentalized by the initiators of an event like this.”

The march has grown in numbers from around 500 to 10,000 since October. Monday night’s demonstration comes against the backdrop of the ongoing apparent Islamist hostage situation in Sydney, Australia, which is attracting global media attention.

Pegida organizers gave notice to the police of their plans for a follow-up to last week’s 10,000-strong rally.

They will be met by counter-demonstrators from “Dresden for all”, who brought 9,000 onto the streets calling for more tolerance at the same time last Monday…

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