The founder of counter-Islamistation strolling movement PEGIDA, Lutz Bachmann, has been handed a five-year protest ban by the city of Dresden, but the order will do nothing to control the marches which have gathered tens of thousands of supporters.
The ban on Mr. Bachmann — the founder of the protest movement which has spread to a number of other German cities and European nations — and his co-organiser Sigfried Däbritz, comes after supporters of the Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West (PEGIDA) heckled German chancellor Angela Merkel at a unity day event.
Army tanks and thousands of police were deployed to eastern city of Dresden for the event, which in an unusual development was attended by Chancellor Merkel and President Joachim Gauck. PEGIDA supporters jibed the pair, demanding they “get out”, and shouted down Gauck when he tried to speak.
The city council declared the protest had not received prior permission from them, and so have ordered the ringleaders — Bachmann and Däbritz — are banned from organising protests in the area until October 2021.
The ban has come in the form of a notification that neither of them are now considered proper persons to lead a protest, as they have been found to have violated the city rules.
Yet the ban is likely to do little — taking to Facebook, Mr. Bachmann revealed today that while he would no longer be able to technically organise marches, he would still be able to march with PEGIDA, be allowed to speak on stage as a guest, and help out with security — basically the limit of his involvement now.
German newspaper Zeit reports that Bachmann hasn’t been a signatory of protest applications for the city since the end of 2015.
The PEGIDA founder wrote on Facebook that the ruling wouldn’t change the fact he’d be at the protests — so-called strolls — every Monday night as usual.
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