Following the cancelation of a march that was increasingly a regular weekly occurrence in Dresden, Germany’s anti-Islamist PEGIDA movement are calling for supporters in that city to line their windows with candles and flags, as well as organizing marches in other cities.
The Irish Times reports that PEGIDA (Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West) leaders have called for the alternative display of support in Dresden, where all public assemblies were banned for 24 hours this Monday following “concrete” threats by radical Muslim groups, according to authorities. Unable to publicly assemble, PEGIDA is calling for “all Europeans in favour of freedom of expression and against religious fanaticism” to instead place flags and candles in their windows. The act, the Irish Times notes, was often a form of silent protest in East Germany during its bid to join Western Europe in freedom. The group is also asking their supporters to honk their horns at 6:30 PM local time.
In a press conference this morning, PEGIDA’s organizational leaders insisted that the cancellation of the Monday rally would not mean a loss of momentum for the movement. The cancelation, said organizer Kathrin Oertel, “doesn’t mean that we’ll let ourselves be gagged … (or) deprived of the right to freedom of assembly and opinion.”
Breitbart News sources in Dresden indicate that there is a growing frustration among Dresden’s conservative community, which is demanding answers from the government as to how “concrete” the threat against PEGIDA’s leadership was and how necessary the deprivation of the right to assemble was for the safety of the group’s members.
In addition to the call for support in Dresden, a number of cities are planning PEGIDA solidarity rallies today, including Berlin, Munich, and Dusseldorf, according to the UK’s Telegraph. Police are allowing these protests, the newspaper notes, because there have been no specific threats made against anti-Islamist displays by known jihadists. PEGIDA organizers are not expecting the numbers at the alternate protests to be as large as those in Dresden, however, as attempts to replicate the success of the group elsewhere in Germany have yet to succeed. The last PEGIDA rally last Monday drew 25,000 people in Dresden.
As PEGIDA grew in Germany, the group began expanding across Europe, as well. A Google-based map created by PEGIDA leaders show chapters of the group being established in Spain, Austria, Norway, Bulgaria, France, Italy, and Poland, among other European states. Norway has held the largest PEGIDA rally so far outside of Germany.