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    Pegida founder Lutz Bachmann is silhouetted during a demonstration of PEGIDA (Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West) in Dresden, eastern Germany, Monday, Nov. 2, 2015.

    'Back and More Radical': Pegida Movement Demos Marred as Violence Spreads

    © AP Photo / Jens Meyer
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    Another journalist has been assaulted by far right group Pegida during a recent anti-Islam demonstration in Eastern Germany. The movement's Monday evening meetups have been marred by violence and appear to be spreading. In October, 20,000 people gathered for an anniversary rally in Dresden where several journalists were attacked.

    The authorities in Dresden no longer monitor the number of people who turn up for Pegida rallies, but it is thought the recent demonstration at the Theaterplatz was attended by up to 5,500 supporters. It was here that a journalist had to be taken to hospital after being attacked. Three people were arrested and are being investigated for causing bodily harm.

    It was believed that support for the Pegida movement which stands for Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West, had dwindled after the departure of its leader Lutz Backman. But according to German newspaper Der Spiegel, the far right group is back "and is becoming more radical," fueled by the ongoing refugee crisis gripping Europe. Demonstrators recently marched through Dresden shouting "deport, deport" against refugees.

    Deutsche Welle journalist Jaafar Abdul Karim and his colleague were pushed and shoved as they were surrounded by protesters at the rally in Dresden, who began shouting: "Go away, lying journalists! What do you want?"

    Jaafar Abdul Karim was hit in the back of his head.

    After Karim was attacked by the group, he wrote an open letter to Angela Merkel saying:

    "Lots of people are freaked out over all this migration, but integrating people into German society really isn't all that hard."

    Three days after the terrorist attacks in Paris, 10,000 Pegida supporters protested against Germany's refugee policies, calling on Chancellor Angela Merkel to stop welcoming refugees.

    Tommy Robinson, a name synonymous in the UK with the far right extremist group, English Defense League (EDL), recently addressed a crown of Pegida supporters in Germany on the first anniversary of the anti-migrant party, saying Angela Merkel was "handing out the birthright of German citizens like she is handing out candy."

    During the demonstration, Ruptly cameraman Jose Sequeira was attacked and beaten to the ground. He said:

    "Neo-Nazis attacked me from behind. They grabbed my camera and stamped on it on the street then started punching me."

    It's since emerged that the far right rhetoric is spreading from Dresden to the UK. The group plans to hold a demonstration in the UK in January — with Tommy Robinson — a far cry from the former leader, who opted out of EDL in October 2013 in favor of a more peaceful approach and dialogue with British Muslims, taking part. 

    Protesters hold a poster depicting German Chancellor Angela Merkel with pig-ears beside women in burqas during a demonstration of PEGIDA (Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West) in Dresden, eastern Germany, Monday, Oct. 5, 2015.
    © AP Photo / Jens Meyer
    Protesters hold a poster depicting German Chancellor Angela Merkel with pig-ears beside women in burqas during a demonstration of PEGIDA (Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West) in Dresden, eastern Germany, Monday, Oct. 5, 2015.

    In a press release produced two years ago by anti-extremism think-tank the Quilliam Foundation, Tommy Robinson said: "I have been considering this move for a long time because I recognize that, though street demonstrations have brought us to this point, they are no longer productive. I acknowledge the dangers of far-right extremism and the ongoing need to counter Islamist ideology not with violence but better, democratic ideas."

    Quilliam stated: "We hope to help Tommy invest his energy and commitment in countering extremist of all kinds, supporting the efforts to bring along his former followers and encouraging his critique of Islamism as well as his concern with far-right extremists… and also call on Islamist extremist leaders to follow this example and leave their respected groups."

    Quilliam Chairman and co-founder Maajid Nawaz said at the time: "As well as being a very positive change for the United Kingdom, this is a very proud moment for Quilliam.

    This represents not a change but a continuation for us, as challenging extremism of all kinds forms the basis of our work. We have been able to show that Britain stands together against extremism regardless of political view."

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    Tags:
    far-right groups, anti-immigration protests, rally, demonstration, violence, protest, immigration, journalists, xenophobia, English Defence League, PEGIDA, Angela Merkel, Germany, Europe, United Kingdom
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