Postcard from... Dresden


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The Independent Online

It is not much more than a month since Dresden’s notorious Pegida movement was dismissed as all but dead. The anti-Islam organisation was rocked by revelations that its leader – cook turned advertising executive called Lutz Bachmann – had posed as Adolf Hitler on Facebook and described foreign immigrants as “dirt”. Mr Bachmann was forced to resign.

The movement faced serious divisions and looked as if it might never recover. Yet now, both he and Pegida have returned to haunt Dresden, a city that appears to be fast gaining a reputation as Germany’s Islamophobia capital. Pegida was launched in the city last October and Mr Bachmann led a 6,000-strong Pegida demonstration there on Monday. The numbers were not as high as the 17,000 in January, but they were up by almost 2,000 on the previous week’s figures and the rally ended in violence. Far-right Pegida supporters attempted to demolish an impromptu asylum-seekers’ camp that had only recently been set up opposite the Semperoper opera house. Anti-Pegida demonstrators tried to stop them. There was fighting and firework rockets were fired into the crowd.

The camp has since been removed by Dresden’s authorities.