They’ve grown from a small Facebook community to a worldwide phenomenon. Sabine Devins looks at Pegida’s rise to prominence and what it is they really stand for as the movement spreads across Europe.
The average Pegida marcher is surprisingly average. He’s 48, lives in Saxony, is educated and has a slightly higher than average income for the state of Saxony. He claims no political party affiliation and doesn’t belong to a church.
That’s according to the Technical University in Dresden, who on Wednesday released the first empirical survey on who is Pegida.
And every Monday, he turns up with thousands of others to chant “We are the people” or “Wir sind das Volk” in protest against what he believes is ruining Germany.
Pegida or the Patriots Against the Islamisation of the West is not just an evolution of the Hooligans against Salifists demonstrations that turned violent in Cologne in October. Nor is it an arm of the neo-nationalistic party, the National Democratic Party.
It is far too smart to get lumped in with those massively unpopular groups.
What began as a group on social media emerged from the virtual to the real world starting in early 2014.
On January 12th, 2015, the latest “evening walk” in Dresden attracted 25,000 participants in the wake of the killing of 12 staff at French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo at the hands of three Muslim men.
This is the first “favourable” coverage PEGIDA has received in the German press that I have read. The German press and elites have pulled out all the stops in an attempt to smear the movement with the usual “Nazi” brush. Perhaps Merkel is sensing something in the wind, what else could have caused her recent moment of clarity on Islam; “They ask why they should believe the idea, repeated over and over again, that the murderers claiming to act in the name of Islam have nothing to do with Islam,” the chancellor said. “I explicitly say, these are justified questions”
Now contrast this portrait of PEGIDA with the MSM’s go to gang of “Anti-Discrimination” & “Tolerance” heroes:
Fascist ‘Anti-fascist’ mob rampages in Leipzig
A mass of 600 people stormed through central Leipzig on Thursday evening, attacking local government buildings, smashing shop windows, destroying police vehicles and spray painting anti-fasacist slogans along the way.
How low will Germany’s MSM sink to slander PEGIDA? This low:
Journalist played racist in interview to slander Pegida anti-Islamist movement