Some 15,000 anti-Islam demonstrators march in Dresden

Counter demonstrations also takes place in German city numbering some 5,500 participants.

Anti-Islam demonstrators take to the streets in Dresden (photo credit: screenshot)
Anti-Islam demonstrators take to the streets in Dresden
(photo credit: screenshot)
Some 15,000 anti-Islam demonstrators took to the streets in Dresden on Monday in a march organized by a group calling itself PEGIDA - an acronym for "Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West".
German Chancellor Angela Merkel faces challenges from allies and rivals to confront a rising tide of anti-immigrant sentiment driving the increasingly popular anti-Islam marches in the city of Dresden every Monday.
Demonstrations vary from week to week and often incorporate more than one group.
"It was a very peaceful evening. The set-up differs from Monday to Monday. Sometimes it is just announcements, sometimes a march, sometimes a collection of marches gathering at the same point. Or like today where it is clear that most of the people here are form PEGIDA. With 15,000 participants, a noticeable increase, but compared to the last two Mondays this Monday was more relaxed, it was quieter and not so hectic," Dresden's police spokesman, Thomas Geithner told Reuters TV.
Two anti-PEGIDA demonstrations also took place in Dresden numbering some 5,500 participants.
There has been a spike in both anti-Muslim and anti-Semitic sentiment this year, with right-wingers joining football hooligans to fight Salafist Muslims and a spate of attacks on Jews. At the same time, with record levels of immigration, Germany has become Europe's biggest recipient of asylum-seekers.
Earlier on Monday, Merkel said there was "no place in Germany" for hatred of Muslims or any other minority.
The marches have already spawned copycat protests in cities to the west like Duesseldorf, which have larger immigrant populations than Dresden, home to very few of Germany's 4 million Muslims.