The anti-Islam rally on Monday was held to commemorate victims of the brutal attacks in France, including the assault on Charlie Hebdo, a satirical magazine, according to organizers. Participants held a minute of silence for those, who lost their lives last week. Some carried posters saying "They can’t kill our freedom" and "Je suis Charlie", a rallying cry of support for the victims of French attacks.
Others were holding posters saying "Fight Islamisation, stop the flood of foreigners now" and "Stop multiculturalism. My homeland will stay German,", according to AFP.
The anti-Islam movement in Dresden is spearheaded by the Patriotic Europeans against the Islamification of the West (PEGIDA). The group held the first such event in October 2014, with several hundred people attending. Since then rallies have attracted thousands of people.
Munich saw a crowd of 20,000 people, who wanted to send a strong message against the anti-immigration sentiment currently on the rise in Germany.
Similar rallies attracted 17,000 people in Hanover, 9,000 in Saarbruecken, 5,000 in Duesseldorf, 4,000 in Berlin and Hamburg, 2,000 in Rostock, and smaller crowds in other cities, according to DPA.
Approximately 35,000 participated in a similar event held in Dresden on Saturday, according to Deutsche Welle.
On Monday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that " Islam is part of Germany," as quoted by the Telegraph. "I am the Chancellor of all Germans. And that includes everyone who lives here permanently, whatever their background or origin," she added.
Merkel, along with members of her cabinet, is expected to attend a rally for an "open and tolerant" Germany, which will be held in Berlin on Tuesday.