Thousands march for "openness" in Dresden after Pegida anniversay

Thousands of people marched in the east German city of Dresden in support of openness and tolerance on Monday, a day after anti-migrant organization Pegida celebrated its second anniversary with marches in the same city.

Thousands of Pegida supporters, largely motivated by their aversion to the spread of Muslim culture, had marched on Sunday amid heavy police presence and counterdemonstrations some distance away.

At a gathering in front of the city's Marian church on Monday, the Dresden mayor Dirk Hilbert appealed to crowds fight the city's growing reputation for xenophobic and Islamophobic sentiments.

The eastern state of Saxony, of which Dresden is the capital, has become associated in Germany with outbreaks of anti-foreigner violence since the flow of refugees reaching the country rose in the summer, as well as for stronger support for Pegida (a German acronym for Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West).

State minister Stanislaw Tillch said on Monday that Pegida was a "small, terrible and loud minority" that has "repeatedly damaged the image of this city."

Around 3,000 people took part in the city's two separate marches, according to organizers.

Last update: Tue, 18/10/2016 - 02:14

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