DRESDEN, Germany (Reuters) – Far-right Dutch politician Geert Wilders attempted on Monday to boost the German anti-Islam movement PEGIDA with a speech that mocked Chancellor Angela Merkel for saying Muslims “belong to Germany”, but the demonstration failed to draw huge crowds (10,000 people? That’s pretty good).
Wilders offered to take Merkel back to the Netherlands with him, provoking chants of “Merkel must go!” from the audience of mostly middle-aged and elderly white men. Some waved flags and held banners saying “Stop the Islamization of Europe!”.
“Your chancellor, Frau Merkel, has said Islam belongs to Germany and I ask you, is she right? She’s not right,” he told the crowd in Dresden that local media estimated at about 10,000 – far short of the 30,000 PEGIDA had announced.