05:33 GMT06 June 2020
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    The German anti-Islam and anti-immigrant movement Pegida should remain a movement rather than becoming a political party, the spokesman for the Berlin branch of the far-right Alternative for Germany party (AfD) told Sputnik on Tuesday, ruling out any possibility of cooperation between his party and the far-right movement.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) —  On Monday, speaking at a meeting in Dresden, Pegida leader Lutz Bachmann announced plans to found a political party on the basis of the current movement and said that the new party would not seek to overshadow the AfD nor would it support it in the 2017 general elections.

    “First of all: AfD does not seek a formal cooperation with Pegida. And certainly not with some of their branches in other cities, such as Bärgida [Berlin Patriots Against The Islamification of the West],” Ronald Glaser said.

    "It probably would be better for both sides, if they [Pegida] stayed what they are: an important movement in Dresden," he added.

    AfD and Pegida overlap on their position that immigration should be curbed, particularly putting limits on Muslims, and that what deem the islamisation of Europe should be prevented from deepening. Although Pegida is seen as more radical. Both political forces are relatively young: AfD was found as a Eurosceptic protest party in 2013, later shifting its stress to migrants and Islam-related issues, while the Pegida movement was established in October of the following year.

    Following the rise of anti-migrant sentiment in Germany, after more than a million refugees arrived in the country last year, AfD considerably approved its national ratings. Now the party enjoys more than 10 percent national support and is represented in half of the 16 local parliaments.

    Meanwhile Pegida, which last year gathered up to 20,000 protesters at its weekly rallies in Dresden, now has witnessed the number of its supporters decrease as its leadership has been beset by scandals and pro-immigration counter-demonstrations.

    Related:

    Anti-Islamization Group Pegida Stages Rally in Germany's Nuremberg
    Pegida Members, Belgian Police Clash at Antwerp Rally
    German Court Fines Pegida Founder for Facebook Migration Rant
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    movement, PEGIDA, Alternative for Germany (AfD)
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