14:01 GMT +321 January 2018
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    Supporters of the anti-Islam movement Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West (PEGIDA) hold posters depicting German Chancellor Angela Merkel during a demonstration in Dresden, Germany

    Out of Control? Dresden Protesters Demanding Merkel's Resignation

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    A series of protest rallies organized by Germany's far-right political movement Pegida took place across a number of European countries on Saturday, with activists opposing the "Islamization of Europe" and demanding to stop the influx of migrants.

    About 15 thousand people took to the streets in Dresden on Saturday holding placards and banners and demanding the resignation of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, media reported.

    The activists were protesting against the current policy of open doors towards migrants and called on the German government to stop the "Islamization of Europe".

    Similar protests were also held in France, Great Britain, Poland, the Czech Republic and the Netherlands. Earlier it was reported that about 20 people were detained during a similar protest campaign in the city of Calais in northern France.

    According to German magazine Spiegel Online, the number of right-wing extremist events has significantly increased over the past few months. The number of protest marches and rallies more than doubled in the fourth quarter of last year compared with the previous (third) quarter (from 95 to 208). The number of participants of such rallies has more than tripled over the last few months (from 10,600 to 35,900).

    "The number of right-wing marches in 2015 is frightening; the number of participants has increased by five times compared to 2014," said representative of the Left party in the Bundestag Ulla Jelpke.

    Pegida, an acronym for Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West, began organizing rallies in its home city of Dresden, Germany, in October 2014, attracting hundreds and later thousands of supporters.

    The far-right German movement gained support in many member states of the European Union amid rising anti-migrant sentiment as Europe faces its biggest refugee crisis since World War II.

    Related:

    'Fortress Europe' Day: Pegida Holds Anti-Islamization Marches Across Europe
    Anti-Pegida March Underway in Dresden Ahead of Anti-Islamizaton Rally
    Pegida to Hold Anti-Islamization Marches Across 14 European Countries
    Tags:
    refugee crisis, nationalism, Pegida, Angela Merkel, Germany
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