Prosecutors in the German state of Saxony are investigating Monday night’s PEGIDA protest after photographs circulated on social media showing a mocked-up gallows, complete with hangman’s nooses.
Attached to the plaited ropes dangling from the arm of the gallows were signs declaring the places reserved for German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and her left-wing coalition Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel. While this may be little more than a sardonic reflection of the declining popularity of Mrs. Merkel and her unapologetic pro-mass migration policies, the model is now being investigated by prosecutors.
A statement put out by the office of the prosecutor in Dresden in Tuesday stated that an investigation had been launched into whether the gallows amounted to disturbing the peace and public incitement to commit a crime, reports Deutsche Welle.
Although the identity of the man carrying the gallows is not presently known, police are presently working to identify the person using photographs taken at the march – a decision which may have chilling after effects on the peaceful strolling movement.
Although Germany’s Justice Minister seemed to side with the Dresden prosecutors, remarking: “people who do that don’t belong on the street, they belong in front of a judge”, others argue the importance gallows have been blown out of proportion, while other equally violent expressions by other campaign groups have been ignored. During the same protest, ‘anti-fascist’ counter-campaigners held banners showing a massive fist punching the founder of PEGIDA in the face.
Yet others point out that a blooded guillotine paraded at an anti-TTIP demonstration in Berlin on Saturday, itself complete with a notice promising it’s blade for Mr. Gabriel, attracted no police attention, despite the clear implication of violence:
— Daniel Mack (@danielmack) October 13, 2015
The Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West (PEGIDA) movement has been a constant thorn in the side of Mrs. Merkel since it launched at this time last year, providing a highly visible alternate point of view to that pushed by her own government. The aparatus of the state, both formally and informally has been used to shut down PEGIDA, bringing forth convictions and controversies at key moments to hobble the movement.
Earlier this year Germany’s own state television broadcast thinly-veiled cartoon propaganda for consumption by children attacking PEGIDA and casting them as angry racists, despite evidence to the contrary. As PEGIDA reached new heights and prepared to stage a rally of 30,000 in Dresden, local police declared emergency powers and banned the gathering, citing an unspecified terrorist threat against the gathering.
The PEGIDA movement is again on the upswing, as their anti-Islam and mass migration rhetoric chimes increasingly with the majority of Germans who are turning away from establishment views, and even report themselves as being “scared” of refugees. The sudden legal action of the German state against members of PEGIDA, including charges against founder Lutz Bachmann last week may be emblematic of the state once again trying to bring it to heel.