A week after Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West founder Lutz Bachmann was forced to resign over old Facebook posts, his replacement Kathrin Oertel has also resigned along with four colleagues, citing harassment and threats.
In a statement released through PEGIDA, the 37 year old mother of three complained of “strange figures sneaking around outside her house” during the night as well as “massive hostility [and] threats”. The group has attracted more than a fair share of hostility from its detractors; last Monday’s march was called off by police after a “concrete” terrorist death threat was made against Bachmann, and many of the left wing counter-demonstrations against PEGIDA have been prodigiously violent.
Although it is only a few months old, the PEGIDA movement already appears to be fracturing. The founding branch in Dresden has repeatedly disassociated itself with many of the cadet franchises set up in other German cities such as Leipzig and Berlin, and around greater Europe, concerned at the lack of control they could exert over speakers and manifestos.
Now it seems the core PEGIDA group itself has split, with four of Oertel and Bachmann’s former co-organisers reportedly moving to establish a new protest group after tendering their resignations yesterday. This split appears to be the inheritance of a movement that quickly grew up from a small group of a few thousand with clear ideas about tackling the rapid Islamisation of Europe to a large movement with diverse ideas on foreign policy, citizenhood, and democracy.
The new movement, which promises to hold its first march on Monday February 9th is likely to be called the Movement for Direct Democracy in Europe. Although it takes some of PEGDIA’s organisers with it, how successful it will be is yet to be seen. When Breitbart London visited a number of PEGIDA rallies across Germany last week, the speeches calling for Swiss-style direct democracy were among the least engaging and well received by the crowds.
Even without much of its organisation team, PEGIDA has vowed to carry on, remarking on its Facebook page that the movement and its ideals are about more than just personalities.
The group has been what appears to be the most vocal and persistent critic of failing multiculturalism and Islamisation in modern German history, calling for migrants to integrate into German society and for the burden of housing refugees from wars to be spread equally among European nations. While Germany is one of the greatest importer of foreign refugees in the world, some European nations take in almost no refugees at all, something PEGIDA members resent.
Many PEGIDA members have also been very vocal in support of pan-European peace, rejecting what they perceive as manufactured conflict with Russia.
The leader of Germany’s Socialist party, which has been a vocal critic of the movement said the events of this past week represented the “zenith” of the PEGIDA movement, and if the strolls now faded away it would be a “relief” for Dresden.