15,000 join anti-Islam protest in eastern Germany

A record 15,000 people marched Monday in eastern Germany against “asylum cheats” and the country’s “Islamisation” in the latest show of strength of a growing far-right populist movement. Chancellor Angela Merkel earlier cautioned Germans against falling prey to xenophobic “rabble-rousing”, reacting to the nascent movement called “Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the Occident” or PEGIDA. “The people are with us!,” the group’s founder Lutz Bachmann shouted at the crowd, celebrating a 50-percent rise in attendance since their last “Monday demonstration” in a series of rallies that started only in October. “Everywhere now, in every news rag, on every senseless talkshow, they are debating, and the most important thing is: the politicians can no longer ignore us!” Bachmann told the mass of people, many waving the black-red-gold national flag.

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