Protests in 4 German cities against anti-Islam rallies

AP , Monday 5 Jan 2015

File Photo: Counter protesters hold a banner which reads during a march against a demonstration of the anti-immigration group PEGIDA, a German abbreviation for "Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West", in Dresden December 15, 2014. (Photo: Reuters)

Thousands of Germans are expected to demonstrate in four cities against weekly anti-Islam rallies that have attracted growing numbers of supporters.

They are opposing a group calling itself Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West, or PEGIDA, which planned another rally Monday night in the eastern city of Dresden.

The crowds at PEGIDA's demonstrations have swelled from a few hundred in October to 17,500 in December, and organizers said similar numbers are expected again. A counter-demonstration was also planned in Dresden.

In Cologne, where 500 PEGIDA sympathizers were to rally, the leaders of the city's cathedral said they will turn off its exterior lighting to leave the rally in the dark. Two thousand counter-protesters are also expected.

Another 10,000 anti-PEGIDA protesters are expected in Berlin, and 5,000 in Stuttgart.

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