Thousands of left-wing, pro-immigrant activists took to the streets of Dresden, Saturday, to protest against the anti-Islam group PEGIDA (Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West), which is set to hold a rally in the city later in the day.
Activists gathered at Dresden central train station before marching through the city centre chanting slogans and waving flags. Scores of police officers escorted the march in order to prevent clashes between the counter-protesters and PEGIDA activists. The group held a rally in Dresden city centre, where a number of speakers addressed the crowd.
The Europe-wide anti-migrants protests on Saturday, organised by PEGIDA and its affiliates, follows the signing of the ‘Prague Declaration’ agreement between anti-Islam groups across Europe, during a meeting in Prague in late January. The 'Fortress Europe' coalition resulted from the meeting and expresses a commitment to oppose “political Islam” and to reject the European Central Government, defending the right of all European nations to guard their sovereignty and borders.
Members of 'Fortress Europe' include various branches of PEGIDA, alongside the Czech Republic's Blok Proti Islamu (Anti-Islam Coalition) and Usvit - Narodni Koalice (Dawn - National Movement), Poland's Ruch Narodowy (National Movement), Italy's Lega Nord (Northern League), Slovakia's Odvaha (Courage) Party and the Estonian Eesti Konservatiivne Rahvaerakond (Conservative People's movement).
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