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Logo from PEGIDA
purpose "Promotion of political awareness and political responsibility"
Chair: Lutz Bachmann
Establishment date: 19th December 2014
Seat : Dresden

Pegida , short for Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West ( acronym : PEGIDA ), is an Islamic and xenophobic , ethnic , racist and right-wing extremist organization . Since October 20, 2014, she has been organizing demonstrations in Dresden against an alleged Islamization and the immigration and asylum policies of Germany and Europe . Similar, much smaller demonstrations are taking place in other cities, some of which are registered and organized by right-wing extremists or groups.

New right-wing and right-wing populist actors from Germany and other European countries appear at Pegida in Dresden . Scientists, politicians, representatives of religious communities and other civil society organizations warn of the nationalism , Islamophobia , xenophobia and racism that emanated from these demonstrations. Authorities for the protection of the constitution in the federal states point to right-wing extremist tendencies at Pegida itself and offshoots of Pegida. Overall, the movement has been radicalizing since 2015 and has been continuously decreasing in terms of the number of participants in demonstrations since the end of the same year. Whether a dialogue can and should be conducted with Pegida organizers or demonstrators is a matter of controversy. Since May 2021, the State Office for the Protection of the Constitution in Saxony has classified and observed the movement as a “proven extremist endeavor”.

Criminal proceedings or convictions are pending against several Pegida organizers and speakers. After the assassination attempt by a suspected right-wing extremist on the then Cologne mayoral candidate Henriette Reker , leading German politicians accused Pegida of paving the way for the act.

Pegida in Dresden


On October 11, 2014, Lutz Bachmann founded a closed group on Facebook under the name Peaceful Europeans against the Islamization of the West . He was protesting against a solidarity rally on October 10th in downtown Dresden for the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which is banned in Germany, and its armed struggle against the so-called Islamic State (IS). From October 16, 2014, Siegfried Däbritz , a nationalist politician from Meissen , took part in Bachmann's Facebook group. He called for demonstrations against “the progressive Islamization of our country” and “religious wars on our streets” by “terrorist, Islamist forces”, including IS, PKK and al-Qaeda . One should show the government the rejection of " political correctness " and the "constant insults as Nazis " and use the slogan " We are the people " from the Monday demonstrations in 1989/1990 in the GDR . Compared to right-wing extremists in the group, who wanted to replace “peace-loving” in their name with “national”, he emphasized that the initiative should not become a collecting tank for “right-wing weirdos, neo-Nazis and the like”. Bachmann preferred the self-designation "Patriot" to counter the "Nazi club" that he expected as a public reaction to the planned rallies.

Däbritz and Thomas Tallacker, city councilor of the CDU in Meißen and also founding member of Pegidas, have attracted attention on the Internet since summer 2013 with contemptuous and racist comments about Muslims , Kurds , Turks and asylum seekers . Therefore, the CDU Meißen Tallacker urged to resign his seat on the city council and initiated a party expulsion process against him. On October 26, 2014, Däbritz attended the rally of the hooligans against Salafists (HoGeSa) in Cologne, where violence broke out. Afterwards, after research by the MDR, he advertised participation in Pegida on a Facebook page of the Hogesa des Ostens with insulting statements about Muslims (“bearded goat jackets”). On the same side, the burning of Muslims and the burning of the Koran were demanded.

Bachmann named “the terrible events in Hamburg and Celle ” as another reason for Pegida's founding : two street battles between Kurds and various Islamists on October 7 (Celle) and October 8, 2014 (Hamburg). As a model of the name he named election posters of the CDU from the 1960s with the motto "Save Western Culture". Since October 20, 2014, Pegida has been calling for an "evening stroll" in downtown Dresden every week .

Pegida's further history includes some reports on groups and events from 2014, which mark and connect a general distance to politicians, established parties and the media: the “ Monday vigils ” against “war rhetoric” against Russia in the current conflict in Ukraine (since March 2014), the entry of the Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) into the state parliaments of Saxony, Brandenburg and Thuringia (August 2014) with election campaign issues such as asylum abuse and foreigner crime and the meetings of around 4,000 violent, Islamophobic and racist hooligans on October 26, 2014 in Cologne and October 15, 2014 November in Hanover. The MDR saw the beginning of Islamophobia among larger sections of the population, which Pegida shows, in the interaction of citizens with right-wing extremists and hooligans in protests against an asylum seeker home in Schneeberg (Ore Mountains) (November 1, 2013; see Schneeberg defends himself ).

Management team

Lutz Bachmann, 2015
Kathrin Oertel, 2015

According to Lutz Bachmann , the original twelve-person Pegidas organizational team came from his closest friends, from the “party scene” and from Dresden's sports club supporters. This group had contacts with some Dresden FDP politicians. Of the founding members, only three were previously politically active.

After media reports about Bachmann's criminal record, he offered to withdraw from the management team on December 1, 2014. The participants rejected this by acclamation. The initiative was registered as an association on December 19, 2014. Bachmann was the club's chairman until January 21, 2015. Until January 27, René Jahn was vice chairman and Kathrin Oertel was treasurer, press officer and keynote speaker. By mid-2016, the association only had seven members, although hundreds of membership applications had been submitted. In addition, the Pegida Förderverein was founded on March 5, 2015, with Bachmann as chairman.

Organization team Occupation or activity additional
Lutz Bachmann Advertising industry Chairman of Pegida e. V. and Pegida Förderverein e. V. from the time of establishment
Vicky Bachmann Advertising industry Wife of Lutz Bachmann
Thomas Hiemann Representative of a Dresden ice hockey fan club
Tom Balazs unemployed, trained hotel manager Convicted of social fraud (undeclared work as a mulled wine seller)
Stephan Baumann Treasurer at Pegida e. V. from the end of February 2015 and in the Pegida Förderverein e. V. when it was founded
Siegfried Däbritz Security entrepreneur with contacts to HoGeSa , former FDP city council candidate in Meissen Deputy chairman of the Pegida e. V. from the end of February 2015 and in the Pegida Förderverein e. V. when it was founded
Frank Ingo Friedemann formerly managing director of a hamam , board member of the Dresden sports association Leaving January 25, 2015
René Jahn runs a caretaker service Vice-chairman of the association until January 27, 2015
Kathrin Oertel according to her own statement, economic advisor Treasurer and press spokeswoman for the association until January 27, 2015
Achim Exner Member of the Dresden AfD On the board of the association until January 27, 2015
Bernd-Volker Lincke Economic advisor On the board of the association until January 27, 2015
Thomas Tallacker former CDU city councilor from Meissen On the board of the association until January 27, 2015
Tatjana Festerling From the end of 2015 in the organizational team and association until mid-June 2016

The organizers do not differentiate themselves from participating neo-Nazis and hooligans, but emphasize that Pegida is not right-wing extremist and refer to the Assembly Act , which allows everyone to participate. Bachmann welcomed the increase in participants on December 8, 2014 on the Pegida website with the sentence “Germany is awakening, we are getting more every day!” According to Gordian Meyer-Plath (Office for the Protection of the Constitution of Saxony) there are indications of connections between organizers and football hooligans. However, the suspicion has not yet been confirmed. Pegida is not officially observed. The demarcation of the organizers to the right seemed serious, and the right had not yet benefited from the demonstrations. Die Zeit (December 17, 2014) doubted this by pointing out that co-organizer Siegfried Däbritz had previously been active at the HoGeSa and on October 3, on Facebook, found its proximity to the German Identitarian Movement and the German Defense League .

The organizers refused to talk to media representatives who they assigned to the “mainstream press” and answered any questions submitted in writing. Bachmann only gave the picture , for which he worked as a reader reporter, the Junge Freiheit , the Blue Narcissus and the English Financial Times interviews. The speakers called on the participants to demonstrate in silence, not to shout slogans that would otherwise be reported negatively, and not to give interviews. According to communication scientist Wolfgang Donsbach , they wanted to show the general dissatisfaction with established politics and the media. On January 19, 2015, Bachmann and Oertel held a press conference for the first time, at which they announced the continuation of the rallies and discussions with politicians.

On January 21, 2015, xenophobic statements by Bachmann from September 2014 and a self-photograph in Hitler's pose became known. Thereupon the Dresden public prosecutor initiated an investigation into the initial suspicion of sedition or insult against him. The association's board rejected his statements on January 21, 2015 as harmful to Pegida's goals. Bachmann apologized for this and outwardly resigned from the Pegidas association. Friedemann resigned on January 25, 2015 and Exner, Jahn, Lincke, Oertel and Tallacker resigned from the association's board on January 27. Bachmann justified Oertel and Tallacker's exit with hostility from the left and professional disadvantages. According to Jahn, this information was "a lie". Those who left named “Bachmann's remaining in the association and organizational team of PEGIDA e. V., despite the well-known Facebook postings from September 2014, which we are not willing to support. We clearly distinguish ourselves from right-wing extremist tendencies. Furthermore, we are against alliance with Legida in Leipzig. "

Siegfried Däbritz attracted attention on January 29 with a contemptuous Facebook comment about a 19-year-old woman who was allegedly murdered by her partner: The murder victim had “successfully Turkishised / Islamized herself, so to speak” and “knew exactly what she was getting into”. Underneath, he put the quote “Only the dumbest calves choose their own butcher”. After the publication he said that he had warned with drastic words of the possible consequences of a partnership with Muslim foreigners, but did not want to offend anyone.

According to Bachmann, the Pegida rallies are financed by the association and supported by donations in kind from entrepreneurs from all over Germany. In February 2015, the Saxon Morgenpost reported that Pegida may have used donations for Bachmann's private expenses that he had invoiced to the association through the company DD-Werbung.EU registered with his wife . The subsequently amended invoice listed costs for video screens that Bachmann is said to have ordered for a future, not yet registered Pegida rally on March 23, 2015. Oertel stated that she did not know anything about this order when she transferred the money. You and René Jahn are calling for the "establishment of an emergency board", as the association still has "considerable liabilities". Bank Pegidas froze the association account due to a missing association board. At the end of February, Pegida formed a new board of directors with Bachmann as chairman, Siegfried Däbritz as deputy and Stephan Baumann as treasurer. The former AfD member Tatjana Festerling from Hamburg, who also appeared at HoGeSa rallies and ran for the office of Lord Mayor of Dresden in 2015 , was newly accepted .

On July 18, 2016, Bachmann informed about the establishment of the "Freedom Direct Democratic People's Party" on June 13, 2016.

Siegfried Däbritz, among others, was friends with two Dresden Systema martial arts trainers even before Pegida was founded . In a coloRadio report, citing research by the journalist Boris Reitschuster, a possible influence of the Russian military intelligence service ( Glawnoje Raswedywatelnoje Uprawlenije ) on the Pegida organization team is considered likely.


On December 22, 2014, January 5 and 12, 2015, a team from the Center for Constitutional Research and Democracy Research at the Technical University of Dresden (TUD) interviewed 397 pegidade demonstrators. 64.1% of 1,106 respondents refused to participate. The average participant in the study comes from the Saxon middle class , is male, 48 years old, non-denominational, non-partisan, well educated, employed and has a net income that is slightly above average for Saxony . Of those who answered the question about the level of training, around 50% said they were blue-collar workers or employees , around 20% each were self-employed or retired , around 10% were students , trainees and pupils and around 2% were jobseekers . 38% stated secondary school leaving certificate, 28.2% a university degree , 16.4% a high school diploma , 5% a secondary school leaving certificate, 8.6% a master craftsman’s qualification ( n  = 397; missing values ​​100%: other / no answer). Three quarters are non-denominational and one fifth are Protestant. Two thirds did not feel affiliated with any party, 17% of the AfD, 9% of the CDU, 4% of the NPD, 3% of the Left Party. One third of the participants in the study came from Dresden and Saxony, 9% from other East German states, and 6% from West German states. As the main reasons for their participation, the respondents named “dissatisfaction with politics” (71%), “criticism of the media and the public” (35%) and “fundamental reservations about asylum seekers and migrants” (31%). 15% of all respondents expressed reservations specifically about Muslims or Islam, 7% expressed concerns about high crime rates by asylum seekers, 8% feared socio-economic disadvantage, 6% feared “foreign infiltration” to Germany. Overall, to justify their participation in the events “against the Islamization of the West”, only around 24% of those questioned referred in any way to the topics “Islam”, “Islamism” or “Islamization”. Vorländer does not see Pegida as a movement of right-wing extremists, pensioners or the unemployed. For most of them, the rallies were an opportunity to express their deeply felt resentments against the political and opinion-forming elite , which have not yet been publicly articulated . The study is not considered representative because of the high number of non-responses .

On January 12, 2015, social scientists led by Dieter Rucht from the Berlin Social Science Center (WZB) distributed leaflets with a link for an online survey to pegidade demonstrators. 1800 people (10.6% of all approx. 17,000 participants) were approached, 670 of them (3.9%) accepted the slip, 123 of them (0.7%) took part in the survey. Because of the low response rate , according to the creators, the survey does not allow any statements to be made about the “typical” demonstrator; "Extreme opinions" are underrepresented in it. Over 86% of the survey participants came from the Dresden region, 76% were men, 42.5% were between 40 and 64, 37.5% between 25 and 39 years old. 35% had a degree, over 18% were freelancers and self-employed. The vast majority indicated personal contacts as a means of information about their participation, followed by social networks and mass media. The latter came out on top when it came to the question of which sources of information you use yourself. 48.7% positioned themselves in the political center, 33.3% on the right, 7.7% on the left and 1.7% each extreme right or extreme left. 33% said they had voted for the AfD in the last federal election, 21% for the CDU / CSU, 17% not at all, and 12% for the Left Party. In a federal election on the following Sunday, 89% of those questioned would have voted AfD, 5% the NPD; all other parties would have remained below 5%. Over 80% feared the “loss of national identity and culture ” most of all. Over 90% affirmed democracy “very” or “fairly” compared to other forms of government. Over 90% had “little” or “no” trust in political parties, the Bundestag, the federal government, the EU, television, newspapers and banks. Only the police enjoyed a relatively high level of trust. Control of immigration was cited as the main concern of Pegida and political failure as the main personal concern (20.9% and 20.1%, respectively). In conclusion, based on their own observations, the authors contradict the assumption that Pegida supporters are harmless ordinary citizens plagued by worries. It is "essentially about the articulation of ' group-related misanthropy ' and more acute, hardly veiled racism". Hans Vorländer counters this by stating that the level of xenophobia among all Pegida demonstrators is not significantly higher than in the overall German comparison. Such a consideration can only stand at the beginning of an analysis of the motives

Pegida demonstration on January 25, 2015 in Dresden

On January 25, 2015, 15 members of the TU Dresden under political scientist Werner J. Patzelt interviewed 242 of 492 addressed pegidade demonstrators, including 30% women and 70% men according to fixed quotas. According to Patzelt, this survey was more representative than others, but it also reached an above-average number of older and more centered than right-wing participants, as younger participants who could be identified as neo-Nazis or hooligans rarely allowed themselves to be questioned. As a result, Patzelt classified around a third of the Pegida supporters as “right-wing national xenophobes ”, a little less than two thirds as “worried goodwillers” and just under a tenth as “indignant goodwillers”. He expected the first group to lose weight and the supporters of the split-off DDfE association to seep away. Pegida has passed its peak. 90% of the demonstrators felt they were not represented by parties and politicians and leaned towards the AfD. Three quarters of the demonstrators feel they are “ German patriots ”, and they tend to reject Germany’s reception policy towards asylum seekers and civil war refugees with an above-average rate . Almost three quarters of the demonstrators describe themselves as "Europeans". Two thirds agree that politically persecuted asylum seekers and civil war refugees will continue to be accepted in Germany. Two thirds think that too many asylum seekers are admitted. Almost a third agree with the statement that Germany is taking in too many civil war refugees. The more they mistrusted parties, the more they rejected asylum seekers, civil war refugees and the view that “Islam as peaceful as Christianity today ” belongs to Germany. The focal point of the protests, but not the cause, is dissatisfaction with what feels like “uncontrolled” immigration, especially from a different cultural area. 40% of the participants took part in the Monday demonstrations of 1989.

At the beginning of April 2015, the Düsseldorf sociologist Karl-Heinz Reuband presented a comparison of all previous Pegida studies.

Explanatory model (Kleinert & Schlueter 2020): Attitudes towards PEGIDA

The question of which individual characteristics influence attitudes towards the Pegida movement in the general population - i.e. people who have not necessarily participated in Pegida activities themselves - is at the center of a study published in May 2020. The social scientists M. Kleinert and E. Schlueter from the Justus Liebig University in Gießen show, on the basis of various survey data, that an individual socio-economic positioning ( relative deprivation ) that is experienced as unjustified causes an increase in xenophobic attitudes and political dissatisfaction . A stronger rejection of immigrants or a higher political dissatisfaction lead to more positive attitudes towards Pegida. In addition, the analyzes show that political dissatisfaction significantly increases the positive effect of xenophobic attitudes on Pegida-related attitudes.


Pegida received around 200,000 likes on Facebook (as of January 31, 2016). According to political advisor Martin Fuchs, users can more pointedly and better disseminate topics and emotional content there that they do not see represented in mainstream media. According to Werner J. Patzelt, Facebook is the central means of communication and information. It replaces the missing organizational and communication structures . However, Pegida's Facebook page does not reach the elderly among the demonstrators.

Right-wing extremists, including a co-organizer of the “memorial marches” on February 13 (the anniversary of the air raids on Dresden ), already publicly supported the first Pegida rally on October 20, 2014 via Facebook. In December 2014, the NPD called for participation in Pegida rallies. The German Defense League and the Islamophobic Internet blog Politically Incorrect published a “propaganda clip” as a call to Pegida. According to the police, several hundred violent hooligans have been participating in the Dresden rallies since December 2014. According to media reports, hooligans make up almost all folders. Which the New Right allocated magazines Junge Freiheit , Blue Narcissus , Secession (Editor: Götz Kubitschek ), the magazine First! from the right-wing extremist publisher Dietmar Muniers and the Querfront magazine Compact (publisher: Jürgen Elsässer , co-founder of the Monday vigils 2014) support Pegida.

The Freedom Party of Austria under Heinz-Christian Strache has been promoting Pegida since December 2014.


Pegida rallies in Dresden
date Attendees
October 27, 2014
December 01, 2014
December 8, 2014
December 15, 2014
around 3,000
October 19, 2015
December 18, 2016
October 21, 2018
April 15, 2019
Data Source: MDR Saxony Police Saxony Student group "counted through" Photo counted "S. Lepski " Science Center Berlin for Social Research (WZB)

According to the police, the number of participants grew continuously from around 350 on October 20, 2014 to more than 25,000 on January 12, 2015. Observers held the police estimates to 15./22. December and January 5th for too high. 35 employees of a counting team commissioned by the WZB under Dieter Rucht determined a number of 17,000 participants with an error tolerance of +/- 10% for January 12th, and he also considered the police estimates for the Pegida rallies to be too high in general. Either way, "this was the largest right-wing march in the history of the city and beyond".

Demonstrators regularly reacted to local press work with chants such as “ lying press , lying press” or “lying press, shut up” and “ traitors ” for politicians. The Nazi propaganda had these fighting words in the 1930s and 1940s against Communists and Jews directed. In addition, “traitors” and “ system press ” were used in the language of National Socialism . “Lügenpresse” was voted the unword of 2014.

On December 22, 2014, a steward attacked a journalist after eyewitnesses and called him a " Jewish pig ". An editor from Dresden was "denounced by name" by rally speakers.

On January 5, 2015, slogans such as “Saxony remains German” and “Merkel must go” were shown. Among the participants were the civil rights movement Solidarity , the Reich Citizens Movement and other groups that represent conspiracy theories and anti-Americanism , for example by making the United States responsible for the flow of refugees in the world. Some hooligans tried unsuccessfully to break the police chain with shouts such as "clap ticks" in order to reach the counter rally. 18 identities broke into the building of the Saxon state parliament during the rally . They are being investigated for trespassing.

On January 12, a few participants wore the mourning band requested by the organizers for the victims of the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris ; some held signs saying “ I'm Charlie ”. Bachmann interpreted the attack as “further evidence of Pegida's raison d'etre” and tried to stop shouts of “lying press”. A minute's silence was observed for "all victims of religious fanaticism".

On January 18, 2015, Pegida canceled the planned rally for the following day for security reasons. On the same day, the Dresden Police Department banned all public gatherings in Dresden on January 19, 2015 because of a death threat communicated by the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) against a member of the Pegida team. The ban was based on alleged references by foreign secret services to discussions on the Internet about possible attacks in Germany, including at Pegida rallies, and a vague Twitter tweet . The Dresden decision met with widespread criticism, also from Pegida opponents and from the interior ministers of the federal states and in security and government circles.

The regular rally planned for January 26, 2015, was postponed to January 25 at short notice due to a counter-event on the same day. On January 28, Pegida canceled the rally planned for February 2 because of the resignation of six board members.

On February 9th, Bachmann appeared again as a speaker. He justified his xenophobic statements (“dirt pack”, “cattle”) with the fact that “every one of us has really used them at the regulars table”. This was just as cheered as the warning of “unrestrained mass immigration” and the statement by Götz Kubitschek: “The contempt for one's own must come to an end.” The German media replied to the “Nazi paranoia” claimed by the former AfD representative Tatjana Festerling in Hamburg the crowd with the reputation of "lying press". Poster slogans such as “Treason is weakness” for the split off association DDfE, the threat to politicians “But one day justice will prevail, then the people will judge, then God have mercy”, lack of demarcation from the numerous NPD supporters and hooligans present and Bachmann's no a new press spokesman assessed media reports as a shift to the right of Pegida. On February 16, 2015, Pegida announced its own candidate for the new election of Dresden's mayor in June 2015. Tatjana Festerling was nominated on April 6, 2015.

According to press reports, after the rally on March 2, 2015, 150 Pegida supporters and neo-Nazis flocked to a refugee camp in front of the Semper Opera House and chanted xenophobic slogans; two dozen people tried to storm it. Pegida herself stated that these people were not participants in the demonstration, but that it was a conspiracy to discredit Pegida. The police spoke of "some people" who had moved to the Theaterplatz, where there had been mutual verbal provocations between the participants in the protest camp and Pegida supporters and the police had prevented physical confrontations. The participants in the refugee camp spoke of around 300 attackers.

On April 6, 2015 ( Easter Monday ), participants in the Pegida rally felt annoyed by the Easter bells of the Church of the Cross , which they considered to be a protest measure. As a result, they issued a death threat to church workers.

On April 13, 2015, the Dutch politician Geert Wilders spoke at the Pegida rally. According to Die Zeit , Pegida is trying to "become a nationalist movement networked across Europe". The majority of the organization team voted against Wilders' appearance in December 2014 in order to “position themselves not so far to the far right”.

On September 28, 2015, during the Pegida rally, demonstrators kicked an MDR photographer and slapped a reporter from Dresdner Neuesten Nachrichten in the face. Both reporters wanted to file charges. A week earlier, students from all over Germany who had traveled to a theater festival in Dresden at the invitation of Saxony's Ministry of Culture had been threatened and molested by Pegida participants. Lutz Bachmann denied this incident; He commented on testimony from eyewitnesses by saying that he “didn't give a shit”.

The demonstration on 12 October 2015, participants wore a gallows -attrappe where two cardboard signs with the inscription "Reserved Angela, Mom 'Merkel" or "Reserved Siegmar [ sic ], the Pack' Gabriel 'hung. The Dresden Public Prosecutor's Office started investigations into public calls for criminal offenses ( Section 111 (1) of the Criminal Code). Also on October 12, 2015, Lutz Bachmann spoke of a coming civil war. He reiterated the call for the dissolution of the European Union and better cooperation with Russia. Tatjana Festerling also called for the “Säxit” on October 12, 2015 - meaning the separation of Saxony from the Federal Republic of Germany - after she had already called for the reconstruction of internal German border fortifications on March 9, 2015 .

On November 16, 2015, the first Pegida rally after the terrorist attacks in Paris , according to Spiegel, no more demonstrators gathered than in the previous weeks. The speakers spoke of an “attack on democracy” - with the addition “even if it is only an apparent democracy, like ours”. The SZ found that - despite a minute's silence for the Paris victims and the suspected bomb attack on the Russian passenger plane - instead of consolation and compassion and the defense of “values ​​such as freedom, tolerance and openness” at Pegida “rejection, contempt "Hatred" prevail.

For the Pegida demonstration on November 7, 2016, the Dresden city administration banned Lutz Bachmann and Siegfried Däbritz from chairing the meeting until the end of October 2021, because both were "classified as untrustworthy" by the city administration. Since then, Ines Claudia Gemeinert took over the management of the meeting and then Wolfgang Taufkirch.

The poster slogan "Parties good night, citizens to power", an expression of a fundamentally oppositional attitude towards parliamentarism and parties, could also be seen on Pegida marches.

In August 2018, on the sidelines of a rally organized by Pegida and AfD against a visit by the Federal Chancellor, there was a police operation against ZDF journalists who were detained for 45 minutes and prevented from working (see Pegizei ). A rally participant verbally attacked the reporter team because he did not want to be filmed and reported a journalist for insulting him, which he in turn reported. As it turned out later, the aggressive demonstration participant was an employee of the Saxon LKA . According to Welt, he is a tariff employee in the investigative department for white-collar crime, writes reports and also appears for the LKA in court cases. Apparently he was wrong to assume that the film recordings violated the new data protection regulations, but this does not apply to journalistic reporting and such rallies, as these are aimed specifically at the public. The Saxon Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer commented on a video of the incident with the comment: "The only people who appear serious in this video are police." The CDU parliamentary group leader Frank Kupfer also supported the action. Members of the state parliament of the SPD, the Greens and the Left contradicted this. The chairman of the German Association of Journalists, Frank Überall, certified the reporters as having “behaved in a highly professional manner”. The action is an "unjustifiable interference with freedom of the press". The Federal Minister of Justice Katarina Barley described the details as "worrying", called for a quick clarification and emphasized the value of the freedom of the press. The chairman of the Greens, Cem Özdemir , pointed out: "Anyone who is responsible for protecting our Basic Law has no place in organizations and parties that fight against our constitution, not even in their free time." On August 24th, the man from Dresden apologized Police President Horst Kretzschmar, according to the ZDF, for the controversial action taken by police officers against a team at the station.

After a temporary ban on demonstrations in the course of protective measures against the COVID-19 pandemic , Pegida demonstrated again on April 20, 2020, on the Führer’s birthday , at the Neumarkt in Dresden. The police only allowed 15 participants, about thirty more remained outside the cordon.

At the Pegida demo on November 9, 2020, speakers criticized the corona measures decided by the federal and state governments. The main speaker was the former Brandenburg AfD politician Andreas Kalbitz , who was classified as a right-wing extremist by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution . The rally had been heavily criticized by politicians because it took place on the 82nd anniversary of the November 1938 pogroms . The state rabbi of Saxony Zsolt Balla described the holding of the event as well as the approval as "absolutely tasteless and forgotten about history". As the city administration stated, there was no legal basis for restricting the right of assembly.


The motto of the first Pegida rallies shown on a banner was: "Nonviolent and united against religious and proxy wars on German soil". Since November 2014, the organizers have made some demands in speeches and leaflets at the rallies:

  • Controlled immigration using a points system based on the example of Canada or Australia (e.g. Australian skilled worker visa ),
  • a consistent deportation policy ,
  • " Zero tolerance " towards immigrants who have committed criminal offenses,
  • increased re-entry controls,
  • Preservation and protection of “the identity of our Christian-Jewish occidental culture”. Speakers also called for an end to the " abuse of asylum " and advocated the "admission of war refugees", but not of "economic refugees". On November 17, 2014, the latter demand, which received the most applause, was: “It must be normal again for us to publicly express our love for our homeland! Against anti-patriotism! "

On December 10, 2014, Pegida published a position paper. The paper was not read at any of the rallies. This did not include the term “Islamization”. It was interpreted as a partial withdrawal of earlier demands and an attempt to protect oneself from being taken over by right-wing extremists.

On December 15, Bachmann criticized the integration policy, the “unspeakable” pension and social policy, the “warmongering” of the federal government and economic sanctions against Russia . Posters called for "Peace with Russia" and " Putin , help us!" The publicist Udo Ulfkotte claimed in his rally speech on January 5, 2015: Islamization in Germany has long been a reality. Muslims enjoy “special rights everywhere”. The media directed the “growing anger build-up” domestically against Russia, even though “the USA deliberately fueled the Ukraine crisis”. Germany is not a sovereign country, but “bailiff of US war policy”. Other speakers referred to Thilo Sarrazin , Heinz Buschkowsky , Henryk M. Broder and Hans-Werner Sinn .

On January 12th, Bachmann named six key demands:

  1. a new immigration law that should end "uncontrolled, quantitative" immigration and promote "qualitative immigration" along the lines of Canada and Switzerland,
  2. the inclusion of a right and an “obligation to integrate” into the Basic Law
  3. consistent expulsion or a ban on entry and residence for "religious fanatics and Islamists" who would fight in holy wars,
  4. direct democracy through referendums at federal level,
  5. an end to the "warmongering with Russia and a peaceful coexistence of the Europeans" without the "control from Brussels",
  6. more funds for the internal security of Germany, especially for the police.

He also advocated a European confederation in which each country would retain its identity. The admission and distribution of war refugees should be handled pan-European, other asylum cases by each country independently. He also advocated a ban on the transport of weapons to crisis areas and the establishment of a "European Aid Fund".

At a meeting in Dresden on February 15, 2015, representatives of Pegida offshoots from Germany, including Legida, came to an agreement with Pegida e. V. on ten demands, including:

  • "Reformation of family policy and the education, pension and tax system",
  • "Protection, preservation and respectful handling of our culture and language",
  • Rejection of free trade agreements such as TTIP,
  • Immediate deportation of rejected asylum seekers.

Bachmann tried to attach the demands to the portal of the Kreuzkirche , where church representatives immediately removed them. On February 16, he presented the demands at the Pegida rally.

Branch in Germany

DDfE in Dresden

The six co-founders around Kathrin Oertel left in January 2015 and founded the new association “Direct Democracy for Europe”. In March 2015, Oertel, together with René Jahn, left there again. He should reach the "middle class" and wanted to demonstrate on Mondays first.

The club later decided to demonstrate every two weeks, but not on Mondays, so as not to compete with Pegida. The day of the week should be determined by the followers. At the first rally on Sunday, February 8, 2015, Kathrin Oertel regretted: Pegida offered NPD supporters a platform and insulted the media as "lying press". You start “from scratch”. The association positioned itself to the right of the CDU and named seven demands, including "referendums, referendums and European citizens' initiatives", a halt to job cuts in the police force, a reform of the Asylum Procedure Act (today's name: Asylum Act ) and the lifting of sanctions against Russia.

On February 8, around 500 (one tenth of the crowd expected by the organizers) demonstrated, and around 100 on Thursday, February 19. On March 9, 2015, Oertel and René Jahn announced their withdrawal from the DDfE.

Legida in Leipzig

LEGIDA rally on the stadium forecourt in Leipzig in January 2017

Legida (Leipzig) was initially headed by Silvio Rösler, later by Markus Johnke, an online retailer from Wurzen . Founders were among others the military dealer Jörg Hoyer, a well-known Leipzig hooligan and a lawyer working for the NPD and HoGeSa . With Felix Koschkar, a member of the Identitarian Movement and co-founder of the “Patriotic Platform” in the Alternative for Germany was one of the organizers of the Legida. He has since resigned from the management team. The Islamic scholar Hans-Thomas Tillschneider gave up his advisory work after "violent attacks" on him. The Saxon Office for the Protection of the Constitution rates Legida as significantly more radical than Pegida. Legida itself has not adopted the programmatic self-description "non-violent" on its lead banner modeled on the Pegida.

In the first Legida demonstration on January 12, 2015, according to ultimately well-founded estimates, 2,000 to 3,000 demonstrators took part, while 30,000 participants took part in the counter-demonstrations. Several independent observers disputed the number of participants reported by the police for the Legida rallies on January 12 and 21, 2015 as being far excessive and methodologically unreliable. The student council sociology of the University of Leipzig evaluated aerial photos from January 21st and came to less than a third of the police information. The speakers on January 21, 2015 were Jürgen Elsässer and Götz Kubitschek. According to police, some police officers were injured as a result of violence between supporters and opponents of Legida. Journalists were deliberately and physically attacked by violent Legida supporters. After the ban on the Pegida rally on January 19, Lutz Bachmann called on all supporters to take part in the Legida demonstration on January 21. However, because Legidas organizers did not take over Pegida's catalog of demands, Pegida considered an injunction against Legida on January 21, according to spokeswoman Kathrin Oertel. Hoyer explained that as “a movement of its own”, Legida did not allow Pegida to dictate anything. At the Pegida rally on January 25, Oertel and Legida organizer Silvio Rösler denied a break between the two initiatives. The city of Leipzig banned the Legida rally registered for February 9, 2015 due to a lack of police forces to provide security. The police broke up a gathering of around 150 Legida supporters.

Due to the regularly larger number of counter-demonstrators, Legida tried to increase the demonstration intervals, to demonstrate in cities in the surrounding area, but then increasingly called out "breaks" and in December 2015 had finally switched from weekly to monthly intervals. On January 11, 2016, on the anniversary of Legida, the Pegida movement in Dresden decided not to hold its own event and instead called for participation in the rally in Leipzig, which Lutz Bachmann also attended. Between 2,500 and 3,400 people took part in the demonstration. As a counter-protest, to which Mayor Burkhard Jung (SPD), among others, had called, around 5000 people gathered around a chain of lights. At the same time, a few kilometers away, when Connewitz was attacked, there were serious riots by around 250 hooded hooligans and right-wing extremists, with several shops being devastated and people injured. The right-wing extremist musician Hannes Ostendorf , singer of the category C hooligan band , performed as part of the Legida event (and also one year later) . After attacks on a journalist, the MDR only wants to send press representatives with security to Pegida demonstrations. At the demonstration for the 2nd anniversary on January 9, 2017, at which almost 400 Legida demonstrators faced almost 2,000 counter-demonstrators, Legida lawyer Hohnstädter said that no further regular events would take place in Leipzig.

Tweets from "LEGIDA" suggest that one or more police members of the Saxon police probably sympathize with the organization and may have disclosed internal information to them without authorization.

Events and demonstrations in other cities

North Rhine-Westphalia

Since December 2014, further initiatives have emerged that see themselves as part of a Pegida movement and therefore use an abbreviation of their city or region name and the ending -gida . Some were promoted and recognized by the Dresden Association. However, he distanced himself from Bogida (Bonn), Dügida (Düsseldorf) and Kögida (Cologne). Counter-demonstrations with far more participants contrasted with most of the offshoot rallies and prevented some of them. On September 18, 2015, a march of 128 Dügida demonstrators in Düsseldorf was stopped by counter-demonstrators after just 200 meters and the Dügida demonstrators gave up because they did not want to take a detour suggested by the police. There were around 1,200 counter-demonstrators in total.

Bogida ( Bonn ) was directed by activists from the right-wing extremist splinter party Citizens' Movement pro NRW (including Melanie Dittmer) and the right-wing group " Hooligans against Salafists " ( HoGeSa ) (including Karl-Michael Merkle). Dügida ( Düsseldorf ) was co-founded by AfD member Alexander Heumann. Melanie Dittmer appeared as a speaker at their first rally. After reports about her right-wing extremist past, Heumann distanced herself from Dügida . At Dügida and Kagida ( Kassel the right parties take the rights, NPD and Pro NRW in part), according to federal government activists.

Kögida, January 21, 2015

The Kögida rally in Cologne on January 5, 2015 was prevented from marching by opponents. The organizer Pegida-NRW then replaced its previous press spokeswoman Melanie Dittmer with Sebastian Nobile. This is a long-standing member of the Islamophobic and right-wing extremist German Defense League . In future, Pegida-NRW only wants to demonstrate in Düsseldorf. On January 9th, Nobile stated that all events registered for January 14th as Kögida , Bogida and Dügida had been "hijacked" by Melanie Dittmer and other Pro NRW actors against the will of Pegida-NRW . You distance yourself from such attempts to go it alone. Nevertheless, a Kögida demonstration with around 150 participants, including supporters of HoGeSa, took place on January 15th . Another Kögida demonstration took place on January 21, 2015 .

In response to the sexual assault on New Year's Eve 2015/2016 , Pegida held a demonstration in Cologne on January 9, 2016. It was broken up by the police with water cannons after demonstrators had thrown firecrackers at police officers, among other things. According to Pegida 3,000 people, according to the media 1,300–1700 people, took part; the number of counter-demonstrators who got together after a flash mob , among other things , is estimated at 1,300.


Bärgida in Berlin was founded by the Patrioten e. V. founded. Its chairman, Karl Schmitt, used to be active on the federal executive board of the right-wing populist party Die Freiheit and in the citizens' movement Pax Europa . In January 2015, Bärgida carried out the first demonstration in Berlin-Mitte . Since then, Bärgida has organized more than 100 demonstrations or rallies. A heterogeneous spectrum of the extreme right took part in these, with the number of participants falling from an initial 150–200 people to less than 50 people. The Jewgida group also appeared in Berlin for the first time . How to deal with Jewish supporters of Pegida was controversial in other Pegida groups.

Lower Saxony

The Hagida demonstration in Hanover on January 12, 2015 was reported by a right-wing extremist, according to police.

According to the police, two thirds of the participants in a Bragida rally in Braunschweig on January 19, 2015 belonged to the right-wing scene. Counter-demonstrators prevented their march. On February 9, 2015, 140 participants met for their fourth meeting in Braunschweig. According to the police, around 60 people from the right-wing extremist scene were among these participants. On February 22, 2015, 320 Bragida supporters gathered in Braunschweig, including 270 right-wing extremists and hooligans , according to the police .


About 1500 people came to the first rally of the Bagida ( Bavaria ) on January 12, 2015 in Munich. Among the participants were, according to police about 80 violent neo-Nazis, including André Eminger (convicted NSU helper), Philipp Hasselbach (district leader of the party " rights ") and two for a planned attack on the synagogue in Munich sentenced members of camaraderie South , among them the neo-Nazi Karl-Heinz Statzberger. Observers from the Association of Antifascist Information, Documentation and Archives Office in Munich spoke of around 100 right-wing extremists and a kind of “scene meeting of Bavarian neo-Nazis”. Thomas Fügner (AfD) and Die Freiheit federal chairman Michael Stürzenberger also took part, as did the Holocaust denier , convicted seducer and former author Johannes Lerle . The police arrested four counter-demonstrators and Karl-Heinz Statzberger on the Bagida side. On January 12th, the “largest neo-Nazi meeting for almost 20 years” took place in Munich. Since about 150 right-wing extremists took part in the subsequent meeting on January 19, with a total of 1,100 participants, including NPD city councilor Karl Richter and other NPD functionaries, the Bavarian constitutional protection agency warned that Bagida could help the traditionally divided right-wing extremist scene to reunite. The right-wing populist Michael Stürzenberger, who is observed by the Bavarian Office for the Protection of the Constitution as an Islamophobic extremist, appeared as a speaker at this and at several subsequent meetings, as he did at the HoGeSa demonstration in Cologne in November 2014. He is the link between the various anti-Islamic and partly right-wing extremist groups, but stated in 2015: "Nazis are not welcome here".

Mügida in Munich, not recognized by Pegida, is headed by former Die Freiheit Secretary General Thomas Weiß and supports Bagida .

At a Pegida demonstration in Munich on October 12, 2015, the Reich war flag was shown and right-wing extremist slogans such as “national resistance” were shouted. Afterwards, neo-Nazis who had taken part in the meeting climbed into the Feldherrnhalle - the scene of the attempted Hitler coup in 1923 - and chanted right-wing extremist slogans; one raised his right arm "as if to give a Hitler salute". At a rally and laying a wreath on the Square of the Victims of National Socialism a week later (with around 150 participants), the meeting leader Heinz Meyer quoted the sentence “ Do you want total war? "By Joseph Goebbels and railed against" pig migrants ". Since then, the association has been under observation by the State Office for the Protection of the Constitution . A meeting announced by the local Pegida branch in front of the Feldherrnhalle on November 9th, the anniversary of the Hitler coup and the Reichspogromnacht in 1938, was forbidden by the city order authorities. In December 2016, the Munich district administration department banned Pegida boss Meyer from chairing the Pegida assembly for one year, as it had repeatedly violated the law. Although fewer and fewer people come to the rallies, there are regularly numerous right-wing extremists known to the police. Also representatives of the neo-Nazi party The III. Weg are among the participants and speakers at Pegida Munich events, as well as people from the environment of the Identitarian Movement , whose symbol was repeatedly attached to the lectern of Pegida Munich.

The first protest march from Nügida (Nuremberg) on ​​February 16, 2015 with well-known right-wing extremists was prevented from marching by counter-demonstrators. The organizers then canceled all further planned rallies.


Right-wing extremists took part in a vigil in Saargida (Saarland) on January 12, 2015 in Saarbrücken . Among them was the Saarland NPD state chairman Peter Marx .

Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania

MVgida ( Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania ) is directed by activists from the regional NPD . The rallies so far in Schwerin, Stralsund and Neubrandenburg have mostly been attended by right-wing extremists. Speakers there openly expressed xenophobic views. The Schwerin NPD association welcomed the “traitors” choruses at Pegida in Dresden as “NPD language and thinking”.


The organizers of Sügida ( South Thuringia ) belong to the environment of the NPD-related small party Bündnis Zukunft Hildburghausen and particularly mobilized the right-wing extremist scene in their region. The Office for the Protection of the Constitution of Thuringia observed the group. Another group, the Thügida, is dominated by right-wing extremists, according to the Thuringian Office for the Protection of the Constitution. According to the protection of the Constitution, speeches at Thügida events have "clear racist, anti- democratic and anti-Semitic traits". Serious riots broke out during a Thügida torchlight procession in Jena with the clearly symbolic character of a neo-Nazi event on April 20, 2016, the anniversary of Adolf Hitler's birthday . Around 3,000 counter-demonstrators who wanted to prevent the Nazi march tried repeatedly to break through the police barriers and threw stones and bottles at Thügida supporters. Fifteen police officers and an unknown number of demonstrators were injured and several vehicles were damaged, including three police vehicles, in scuffles with police officers on both sides.

In October 2016, Thügida and the association "We love Saxony" merged and founded the association " THÜGIDA & We love Saxony ", based in Greiz . In Gera , Thügida let the Holocaust denier , "Reichsbürger" , legally convicted seducer and neo-Nazi Christian Bärthel (formerly the German party ) appear as a speaker. Bärthel had to admit that he had reported xenophobic rumors from the right-wing extremist association “We love Gera” on the basis of hearsay .


Pogida demonstration on March 9, 2016 in Potsdam

On January 11, 2016, the Pegida offshoot Pogida demonstrated for the first time in Potsdam . The demonstrators were allegedly supported by the unofficial Pegida offshoot BraMM, which, according to the protection of the constitution, could be a right-wing extremist group. More than 600 counter-demonstrators demonstrated against racism.


First Pegida demonstration in Vienna . In the foreground the counter-demonstrators.

Pegida could not gain a foothold in Austria and did not reach a significant following. The first Pegida demonstration took place on February 2, 2015 in Vienna . The "walk" with 350 demonstrators was blocked by over 5,000 counter-demonstrators and attracted a lot of media attention. On February 8, 150 Pegida supporters gathered in Linz for a rally, followed by a second on February 21 with 100 participants. In Bregenz 100 people took part on March 22, in Graz on March 29, 150. The last Pegida-march in 2015 in Austria took place, also with 150 people on April 19, 2015. All demonstrations were accompanied by much larger counter-demonstrations and generated intense media coverage. Some Pegida demonstrators were reported to the police for re- engagement, for example for showing the Hitler salute . Demonstrations planned for May in Linz and Bregenz have been banned by the police. This was possibly decisive for the provisional end of the Pegida demonstrations in Austria.

Even before the first demonstrations, the first Pegida group was founded on Facebook on December 9th, followed later by regional groups with thousands of members. In the groups, topics related to Islam and the refugee crisis were discussed, as well as the demonstrations in the context of the behavior of the police and counter-demonstrators. Other topics were Russia , the so-called “ gender ideology” and the European Union . Many of these groups were still active in 2016.

Among the participants in the demonstrations, there was clear overlap with the FPÖ and other right-wing groups. The then third President of the National Council, Martin Graf (FPÖ), took part in the first demonstration in Vienna , and hooligans also took part in Austria , like Hogesa in Dresden . The first official director of Pegida Vienna, Georg Immanuel Nagel, had close ties to the Identitarian Movement ; Representatives of this movement took part in several demonstrations, as did members of fraternities and neo-Nazis close to the People's Loyal Extra-Parliamentary Opposition (VAPO). The Pegida activists in Austria were embedded in a pre-existing, broad network of right-wing radical groups and were able to mobilize for the streets from their core.

Social context

The feelings of political powerlessness expressed by Pegida can in part also be understood as a reaction to political and economic conditions. Colin Crouch coined the term post-democracy , in which “the representatives of powerful interest groups who speak for only a small minority are far more active than the majority of citizens; [...] in which political elites have learned to direct and manipulate the demands of the people ”. Political decisions were often based on the coordination mechanisms of the market and were often presented as having no alternative.

The fact that Pegida supporters often do not perceive the political institutions and structures of public life as “their own” could be explained by the long-term consequences of German reunification and the associated transformation processes. In contrast to West Germany, in which democratization after 1945 was linked to positive economic development, the introduction of democracy in the course of reunification did not bring about "the [the] hoped-for economic upturn and the [] dreamed-of [] synthesis from D-Mark , Freedom and social security. On the contrary: Unemployment , fear of and experiences with social decline as well as the feeling of devaluation of private life achievements in GDR times hit many East German families and are still directly associated with the new social and political model. "( Borstel , 2012)



Demonstrations against Pegida in Dresden (2014-2016)
date Attendees
December 01, 2014
December 8, 2014
December 15, 2014
October 19, 2015
Data source:
    Police Saxony Dresden Latest News (DNN; Nov. 24, 2014), Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk (MDR) and Dresden TV student group "counted through"

Since November 3, 2014, several hundred people have been demonstrating in parallel against the Pegida rallies in Dresden. On 8 December, a broad alliance (churches, Islamic Center, Jewish Community, Ausländerrat that called Alliance Dresden Nazi-free , student bodies, the Technical University of Dresden and Saxony's Prime Minister Stanislaw Tillich ) to a protest march in the city on (Dresden for all) . Pegida represents “a racist, Islamophobic, xenophobic, folk - nationalist ideology” for the alliance Dresden Naziffrei . The Saxon Refugee Council certified Pegida in a declaration signed by many Saxon religious communities, companies and other organizations "hatred of Islam and the refusal to accept asylum seekers". Their admission is a humanitarian duty, immigration is a gain. Many Dresden residents rejected the “racist mobilization” and affirmed a “cosmopolitan society based on acceptance of the diversity of people”.

Dresden's Lord Mayor Helma Orosz (CDU) invited Pegida to a dialogue in new forms of discussion on December 11, 2014. At specific events, the federal and state governments should jointly provide information, clarify and answer acute questions. On December 15, 2014, the city of Dresden set up an information telephone and an e-mail address on the subject of asylum and asylum seekers' homes, which many citizens used from the start. After the cancellation of the Pegida organizers, Orosz doubted their interest in serious answers to the questions they asked themselves on December 18.

Saxony's Interior Minister Markus Ulbig (CDU) rejected “the usual anti-fascist reflexes” against Pegida. Since the end of November 2014, he has been planning a special police unit to "take action" against criminal asylum seekers. That was seen as a concession to Pegida. Since Saxony was allocated a relatively large number of asylum seekers from Tunisia in 2014 , whose applications are processed in Saxony, Ulbig wants Tunisia to be classified by the federal government as a safe country of origin . For example, asylum applications from Tunisians could be regularly rejected in order to create more space in asylum seekers' homes. On December 20, Ulbig saw no interest in Pegidas in serious talks that would quickly dispel her allegations. He suspected that the organizers wanted to build up the "myth" of a politics that refused to talk in order to be able to continue demonstrating against it.

Bishop Heiner Koch emphasized on December 21, 2014 that the concerns and fears of the demonstrators must be taken seriously in order to enable a discussion with them and to change something in the process. At the same time he experiences in dialogue with refugees that they perceive the demonstrations as a frontal attack. He doubts that the demonstrators are Christian. It is strange that in the Free State of Saxony with 80% unbaptized citizens "the withdrawal to the Christian Occident is emphasized". The Holy Family had also been on the run, so the Christmas message reads: "Don't close the door on them."

Demonstration for cosmopolitanism and tolerance in front of the Frauenkirche (Dresden) , January 10, 2015

On December 21, 2014, Stanislaw Tillich accused the organizers of a lack of willingness to engage in dialogue. He recommended citizen dialogues, which already exist, and the use of social media for argument instead of talk shows and demonstrations. The CDU Saxony wants to convene a commission of experts since December 27th, which should review the asylum and refugee policy, define differences between immigration, asylum and refugee policy, identify integration goals and failures for the government and accelerate examination procedures.

The Semper Opera presented during Pegidakundgebung on 22 December 2014, the exterior lighting of their building, leaving messages like "Refugees welcome", "Dresden is for everyone" and " human rights are indivisible" project to the exterior and put white flags with slogans such as "Open your eyes", "Open your hearts", "Open doors" and " Human dignity is inviolable " next to the portal. On January 5, 2015, the lighting for the Transparent Factory was turned off.

On January 8, 2015, the organizers Pegidas met with the AfD parliamentary group in the state parliament of Saxony. Its then chairwoman Frauke Petry said afterwards that the AfD was not planning any cooperation and had no “strategic interests”. She named a modern immigration law, more direct democracy, more police force and a rejection of gender mainstreaming as “intersections” with Pegida .

Various musicians composed songs that deal critically with the statements of Pegida, including Yellow Umbrella together with Ronny Trettmann and Tiny Dawson with the song No Pegida . Together with the band Banda Comunale , they initiated the Dresden New Year's cleaning as a counteraction by Dresden artists at the beginning of January and performed at the Postplatz concerts and Dresden place to be .

The Saxon cabaret artist Uwe Steimle attested to Pegida at a performance in January 2015 that he had “not heard any criticism of Islam, but saw many Russian flags”. The movement only wants to draw attention to a completely wrong policy. Steimle called Federal Justice Minister Heiko Maas “flat-nosed pliers” and “ass”, especially after his criticism of Pegida, and he called the Bundestag a “work-shy rabble” that had to go.

With the large-scale demonstration "for cosmopolitanism and tolerance" on January 10, 2015 in Dresden, the organizers and participants wanted to set a contrast to Pegida.

Frank Kupfer (CDU Saxony) supported Stanislaw Tillich's dialogue initiative on January 14, 2015. Since most of the Pegida participants, according to the study by the Technical University of Dresden, come from the middle of society and do not find themselves in politics, all democratic parties and the media are asked to change that. Discrediting the demonstrators does not help. "Politicians have to listen more, explain and struggle for trust again."

As a negative consequence of Pegida for the business location Dresden, Diego Schwarz of the Federal Association of Medium-Sized Enterprises feared a decrease in qualified foreign specialists . Hans Müller-Steinhagen (Rector of TUD) registered the departure of some foreign scientists. The Dresden Tourism Association registered inquiries from foreign tourists concerned about their safety. The Dresden Chamber of Commerce and Industry attributes possible damage to the image of Dresden to "largely undifferentiated, sometimes incorrect media reporting".

Stage and logo of the event Dresden place to be on January 26, 2015 on the Neumarkt in Dresden

Frank Richter , head of the state center for political education in Saxony, provided Pegida's board of directors with rooms for its press conference on January 19, but made no similar offer to Pegida opponents. Thomas Krüger , chairman of the Federal Agency for Civic Education , criticized this as partisan: the institution had to reflect controversial positions in society. Martin Dulig (SPD), Vice-Prime Minister of Saxony, refused to enter into a dialogue with the association's board of directors: Their distance from xenophobia was “a bit of a lie”. On February 6, Richter admitted that he should have given Pegida opponents a podium at the same time. The space available for Pegida was an exception, with which he wanted to prevent riots due to the previous ban on a Pegida rally. He found that Pegida supporters had a considerable lack of knowledge about representative democracy and how far away it was from it. Many believed that, as in the former GDR, the media were merely state announcement organs. Political education must remedy this.

On January 20, 2015, Ali Moradi (Saxon Refugee Council) criticized: With 10 to 15% of neo-Nazis and hooligans accompanying them, Pegida created fear, so that asylum seekers, Muslims and citizens of Dresden who looked strange were rarely out on the streets on Mondays. Frank Richter had acted unilaterally as a "Pegida understanding". With the press conference in their rooms, the state headquarters made a pact with Pegida. In the ARD program Günther Jauch (January 18) foreigners and their fears did not appear. There is also a “populism competition” in which the concerns of migrants are completely ignored.

The concert on January 26, 2015 was deliberately put on a Monday, the usual day of the Pegida rallies. A group of scientists conceived and organized it as a welcome offer for foreign visitors and residents of Dresden. The costs were financed through loans that are to be repaid through donations. Many musicians took part and waived their fees.

Banner at the Center for Regenerative Therapies Dresden during the unveiling.

As a result of this event, the Center for Regenerative Therapies Dresden unveiled an 18 × 2 m banner with the flags of various nations and the words “Top research is colorful!” On the side of the building on February 6, 2015, pointing towards Fetscherstrasse and the University Hospital .

Since in the course of the Pegida demonstrations the dialogue with their participants was repeatedly requested and the perspective of the refugees and immigrants was hardly taken into account, "Dresden for everyone" and various other groups and people called for participation in the Asylum Seekers' Movement initiated by Asylum Demonstration under the motto "For a better coexistence - solidarity with the refugees". On February 28, 2015, around 3,500 people took part in this demonstration.

In Leipzig an estimated 30,000 people demonstrated against Pegida and Legida on January 12, 5,000 on January 19, 20,000 on January 21 and 5,000 on January 30. The city of Leipzig allowed five previously registered events against the Legida rally, which was banned on February 9, because fewer police are needed to secure them. Bans and permits met with criticism in Saxony. On March 9, around 1000 people demonstrated for a cosmopolitan, peaceful Leipzig as a counter-event to the Legida demonstration that took place on the same day. In addition, foreigners living in Dresden report that everyday racism has become stronger and more visible since 2014 .

Nationwide reactions


Since December 22, 2014, demonstrations have also taken place outside of Saxony against Pegida and its only partially existing local offshoots:

Demonstration against Bärgida in Berlin

Like the Semperoper, opponents of Pegida let the lights out for the Cologne Cathedral , bridges and other buildings in the old town under the motto “Lights out for racists” at rallies by Pegida offshoots on January 5, 2015 in Cologne , and for the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin Off. The darkening of Cologne Cathedral was noticed abroad.

On January 12, around 100,000 people across Germany demonstrated against Pegida. In addition to Leipzig (30,000) and Dresden (7,000), the largest gatherings were in Munich (20,000), Hanover (17,000) and Saarbrücken (9,000). Lower Saxony's Prime Minister Stephan Weil (SPD) was among the counter-demonstrators to the Hagida in Hanover around the Marktkirche under the motto “Colorful instead of brown” . Many shops and institutions switched off their outdoor lighting under the motto “Lights out for racists”. Avni Altiner, chairman of the National Association of Muslims, said: “We must not allow our society to be divided, neither by Salafists nor by right-wing extremists.” On January 26, 2015, during the demonstration against Hagida, there were acts of violence between supporters and opponents. Ten people were injured and 42 people were arrested.

At a demonstration in Saarbrücken on January 12, organized by the alliance “Bunt statt Braun”, representatives of all parties represented in the Saarland state parliament , the Catholic and Protestant Churches, the Saarland Muslim community and the German Trade Union Confederation (DGB) spoke .

According to a survey by the Göttingen Institute for Democracy Research from the beginning of 2015 in Braunschweig, Duisburg and Leipzig, which the authors did not classify as representative, the counter-demonstrators there are on average younger than the Pegida supporters, but of a comparable level of education, often still in training, single and childless. Politically, they are mostly inclined to red-green , advocate cultural diversity, a welcoming culture for foreigners and see Islam as part of Germany.

A demonstration against Kagida on February 23, 2015 and against Pegida in Karlsruhe on February 24, 2015 resulted in individual violent attacks by demonstrators and injuries to police officers. Riots broke out at the Pegida demonstration in Frankfurt am Main on March 9, 2015. Around 300 counter-demonstrators, some of them masked, threw stones, bicycles and other objects at Pegida. A Pegida participant was seriously injured in the head by a stone throw.

After a demonstration on February 28, 2015 for the concerns of refugees, 80 refugees and supporters set up a refugee camp in front of the Dresden Semperoper . The tents and superstructures were dismantled three days later on the basis of a decision from the city of Dresden.

At a demonstration on March 23, 2015 in Dresden, many of the 900 or so participants disguised themselves as fearful rabbits in order to represent the fear of migrants and those affected by right-wing violence.

Statements from civil society

In December 2014, church representatives expressed their views at the federal level. The Archbishop of Bamberg, Ludwig Schick , accused Pegida of racial hatred, of stirring up irrational fears and collecting diffuse aggression against people of other cultures and religions. Christians are not allowed to participate. The German Bishops' Conference (DBK) rejects Pegida "without ifs and buts". The DBK chairman Reinhard Marx did not forbid Catholics to participate in Pegida demonstrations, as there was no Pope instruction to do so. But each individual should consider whether he would like to be there where "inhuman preaching" is taking place. Stirring hatred against people of different faiths is incompatible with Christianity . The bishops Norbert Trelle ( Hildesheim ) and Gebhard Fürst ( Rottenburg-Stuttgart ) criticized Pegida and her demands in their 2014 Christmas messages.

Heinrich Bedford-Strohm (EKD Council Chairman) stated that the Evangelical Church in Germany would say “No” in all clarity to blanket attacks on a religion, refugees or asylum seekers. The solidarity of representatives of the AfD with Pegida get him. The use of a “so-called Christian occidental culture” for xenophobic, racist and inhumane positions is “the exact opposite of Christianity”. At the same time he called for a substantive dialogue with Pegida instead of a blanket demonization.

The Hanoverian regional bishop Ralf Meister criticized the singing of Christmas carols at the Pegida demonstration on December 22nd as "deeply tasteless". The intensive reporting acts as an "amplifier".

Josef Schuster ( Central Council of Jews in Germany ) described Pegida as "extremely dangerous": "It starts with verbal attacks and ends in attacks like the one in Bavaria now on the planned refugee home". He was referring to an arson attack with swastika graffiti on a ready-to-move home for asylum seekers in Vorra on December 11, 2014 . At Pegida, “neo-Nazis, parties from the far right and citizens who believe that they can finally live out their racism and xenophobia freely mixed up”. The fear of Islamist terror is being used to denigrate an entire religion. This is "unacceptable".

Aiman ​​Mazyek ( Central Council of Muslims in Germany ) said on December 15, 2014: Right-wing extremists repeatedly drew a “xenophobic grimace” from Germany that was not there. The mottos of the demonstrators showed that xenophobia and anti-Semitic racism had become socially acceptable. Politicians have failed to communicate with citizens and "we have to resume this communication."

Jürgen Micksch ( Intercultural Council in Germany ) classified Pegida's leaders not as patriots, but as racists who questioned human rights and discriminated against minorities. According to Pro Asyl , Pegida tries to anchor racism in political discussions. Together with the Amadeu Antonio Foundation , Pro Asyl referred on January 26, 2015 to 153 attacks on refugee accommodation and 77 physical attacks on refugees in 2014. In 2014, by far the greatest number of racially motivated physical injuries against refugees occurred in Saxony; these have increased significantly since the Pegida rallies. Despite distancing herself, Pegida was characterized by racist resentment, staged herself as “the will of the people” and thus “motivated violent racist criminals to carry out the supposed“ will of the people ””.

Ulrich Grillo ( Federation of German Industries ) sharply distanced himself from “neo-Nazis and xenophobes” who gathered in Dresden and elsewhere. It is unacceptable that Pegida is instrumentalizing the fear of Islamism in order to denigrate Islam as a whole. Germany must remain a country of immigration .

On December 23, 2014, the prominent GDR civil rights activist Friedrich Schorlemmer sharply criticized Pegida for abusing slogans of the GDR civil rights movement from 1989. The call for freedom “We are the people” was directed against the powerful and “demanded and then conducted a dialogue with fundamental change”. Today this slogan is directed “against the weakest, the needy, the immigrants who come to us with dreams”. A large wooden cross of the Pegida demonstrators wrapped in a German flag symbolizes a “ crusade in the colors of Germany”. Nevertheless, there is no “basic xenophobia” in the former GDR. One should not forget the annual civil protests on February 13th against the right wing in Dresden.

At Christmas 2014, Reinhard Schult , Thomas Klein and Bernd Gehrke wrote a “Christmas greeting from the eighty-nine” to Pegida in the form of a poem: “We are the people” meant “the wall must go” in 1989, not: “The wall must be on the Mediterranean”. “ Jesus would have puked if he had hit you.” The demonstrators did not ask who had forced the world on the system, which was shaped by neoliberalism and capitalism and which caused the misery of refugees through arms exports to civil war states and climate catastrophe. They protested “against the weak”, but did not dare to approach “the powerful”. The authors called the addressees “cowards” who wanted a “dark Germany” and should be ashamed of themselves.

The Dresden writer Ingo Schulze described the Pegida followers on January 29th as that part of the former GDR citizens who changed the slogan “We are the people” in 1990 to the cry “We are one people”. Pegida's demands are unrealistic, for example because qualitative immigration means letting other countries pay for the training of specialists, and an integration obligation violates the Basic Law. Pegida refrains from the urgently needed social criticism , for example that the community has become “hostage” of those “who have pocketed and pocketed exorbitant profits for years”, and this is due to the daily dying of the poor, the rapid impoverishment of many Greeks, free trade agreements of the EU and the way they are dealt with show with refugees. Instead, Pegida allegedly denounced "work-shy" foreigners living on the savings of Germans and reduced the "permanent kneeling of politics to the demands of the business lobby" to external control by the Brussels EU authorities. Pegida supporters are therefore "useful idiots" of today's government policy, with the help of which one can tighten laws and discredit basic opposition. Even the accusation of "Nazi propaganda" by some of Pegida opponents falls short, as some of the demands of supporters and opponents coincide. Few of the media reported as broadly as Pegida about a demonstration in Berlin against the TTIP agreement with 50,000 participants.

Matthias Platzeck (former Prime Minister in Brandenburg, SPD) published a similar appeal on January 6, 2015 (“Against resentment and isolation: For the values ​​of 1989!”), Which former civil rights activists signed. He emphasized that Pegida's positions could not be equated with the opinion of “the people” and welcomed the nationwide counter-actions. He welcomed offers of talks to Pegida as an opportunity to learn and to clarify a different, non-prejudiced attitude towards immigrants in East Germany.

The former President of the Federal Constitutional Court, Hans-Jürgen Papier , said that there was no question that many of the participants in Pegida actually came from among the people. He himself considers Pegida's positions to be wrong. However, "erroneous opinions", as long as they do not violate the law, should also be recognized and tolerated as the exercise of fundamental rights. The democratic rights of citizens must be respected in the choice of words for criticism. It is presumptuous to describe the demonstrations as "shameful".

The website “Pegidawatch” and an online petition “for a colorful Germany” (since December 23, 2014) on are opposed to Pegida. The initiator of a petition for Pegida closed it again after three days on December 28, 2014 because of too many illegal comments. Initiatives against right-wing extremism in Germany express concerns that Pegida, as a pressure group, is helping the AfD to gain more media presence .

Wirmer flag ( Josef Wirmer's draft for a provisional flag of Germany in the event of a successful overthrow in 1944)

Anton Wirmer, one of Josef Wirmer's sons , expressed his horror in an interview about the use of his father's flag by Pegida and sees it as a distortion of all the ideas that are in this flag.


On December 12, 2014, Federal President Joachim Gauck called Pegida “chaos and currents that are not very helpful” and “should not attract so much attention”.

Federal Minister of Justice Heiko Maas ( SPD ) called the Pegida demonstrations "a shame for Germany". He said: You should not only "mother" the demonstrators, but must remind them of their humanitarian duties, confront them with facts and arguments. Pegida is not the people, but is based on a "heap of clumsy prejudices". The silent majority must make that clear. It is "completely absurd to stir up fear of foreign infiltration in a federal state in which it is difficult to find foreign citizens at all."

Bundestag President Norbert Lammert (CDU) and Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel (SPD) promoted a dialogue with the Pegida demonstrators on December 17th, but warned against “dirty campaigns” and “anti-minority campaigns”. On January 23, 2015, Gabriel met Pegida supporters in Dresden for a conversation. Gabriel warned in February 2015 against simply going back to the agenda: "Regardless of whether you like it or not: There is a democratic right to be right-wing or German national," he said. Pegida also belongs “quite obviously” to Germany. He accused politicians and journalists of having “a slightly disturbed relationship to reality in Germany”.

Heiner Geißler (CDU) contradicted Maas (December 18): “The fear of Islam in its excessive manifestations is entirely justified”. Pegida demonstrates against the worldwide crimes of radical Muslims, against propaganda for Sharia law and so-called hate preachers in Germany. The fact that these “can incite people under the pretext of freedom of expression” is incomprehensible. One must take decisive action against Islamists in this country.

Gregor Gysi ( left ) accused all parliamentary groups of failure (December 18): The population had not been informed enough that most Muslims were "completely peaceful and non-violent" and that violent Islamists were the exception. Politicians must make this distinction clear everywhere.

Cem Özdemir ( Greens ) refused a dialogue with Pegida demonstrators (December 22nd). Instead, Germany should aggressively represent the “open society”. In the ZDF broadcast illner Maybrit called Ozdemir the Pegida supporters as "comical Mischpoke " that "a crude stuff" verträte.

Former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder (SPD) called on December 22, 2014 for another " uprising of the decent " against Pegida. He paid tribute to counter-demonstrators in Dresden and other cities. The democratic parties should clearly distinguish themselves from Pegida, which the conservative parties shied away from.

Bernd Lucke (then AfD chairman) found Pegida's concerns about the spread of Islamist ideas understandable. Alexander Gauland (AfD vice chairman) found during his visit to the Pegida rally on December 15, 2014 that he could sign all of the demands of the position paper. Hans-Olaf Henkel warned his AfD party against joining the demonstrations. Birgit Bessin (AfD Brandenburg) supported Pegida according to her own statement in a phone call with Bachmann at the beginning of January. The AfD politician Beatrix von Storch said in an interview with the portal that the number of Pegida participants would be higher if politics did not threaten with the "xenophobia or even Nazi club".

Hans-Peter Friedrich (CSU) made the political “middle” course of Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU), including her yes to dual citizenship , jointly responsible for the strengthening of Pegida and the AfD (December 28). The conservatives dealt with the "question of the identity of our people and our nation" too lightly. The CSU must again cover the right flank in the party spectrum.

Aydan Özoğuz (SPD), Minister of State for Migration, Refugees and Integration, accused Pegida (December 30th) of “leaving frustration on scapegoats and discriminating against all members of a religion across the board ... And that is nothing other than racism.” Politics must be necessary and clarify existing rules for qualified immigration.

SPD federal vice -president Ralf Stegner said he did not want to call thousands of demonstrators Nazis, "but unsuspecting citizens who do not know what is happening there" are not. The FDP party leader Christian Lindner described the "smugness of Pegida" as a threat to the internal liberalism of the country, but his deputy Wolfgang Kubicki called for the protesters' concerns to be taken seriously. B. by better equipping the police and the protection of the constitution.

Angela Merkel had declared on December 15 that there was “no place for agitation and slander” in Germany, especially against foreigners. The Pegida demonstrators should be careful not to be "instrumentalized". In her New Years address (December 31), she said:

“Today some people shout 'We are the people' again on Mondays. But actually you mean: You don't belong - because of your skin color or your religion. That is why I say to everyone who goes to such demonstrations: do not follow those who call for them! Because too often there are prejudices, there is coldness, yes, even hatred in their hearts! "

The opposition parties in the Bundestag welcomed these statements, also in response to criticism from the AfD. The CSU called for a tightening of the asylum law beyond a government bill. The opposition and some media criticized this as a contradiction to Merkel's criticism of Pegida.

On January 5, 2015, 50 prominent politicians, business representatives and artists, including former Chancellors Helmut Schmidt and Gerhard Schröder, signed an appeal against Pegida, xenophobia and intolerance. Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said that Pegida is damaging Germany and its image abroad. Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble (CDU) said: “Slogans do not replace facts: Germany needs immigrants. And we have to have a heart for refugees in need. "

Federal Minister of Justice Heiko Maas criticized the Pegida demonstration, which was planned with a black ribbon, after the Paris attacks on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, as abuse and hypocrisy. Also Horst Seehofer (CSU) demanded that all other Pegida rallies cancel.

In January 2015, the AfD politician Alexander Gauland Pegida called a "popular movement" made up of mostly "normal people" who are not xenophobic. At the same time, he called for an immigration stop for migrants from Middle East countries with a Muslim culture and rejected Merkel's sentence that Islam belongs to Germany. After Kathrin Oertel left the Pegida association, he declared that the Pegida issue was "settled" for him. Anyone who holds on to Bachmann is committing “betrayal” of the Dresden demonstrators.

Federal political representatives from various parties accused Pegida of preparing the ground for the Cologne attack on Henriette Reker in October 2015. The deputy CDU federal chairman Armin Laschet urged Pegida followers to “look to Cologne” and warned against people who “may be incited to deeds by dangerous words and images”. The SPD general secretary Yasmin Fahimi described the Pegida organizers as "enemies of democracy" and "intellectual arsonists" and blamed rights for the poisoned climate from which the attack had grown. The federal chairwoman of the Left, Katja Kipping , also stated “a new audacity, including a new escalation of violence” that could affect anyone when “the brown mob got going. [...] Pegida, AfD and Co. have clearly fueled a social mood that then leads to such terrifying attacks. "

Media reports on demonstrators

Print media dealt with management personnel, motives and political backgrounds of the Pegida protests. The time found contradictions: “They want to be heard, but they don't like to speak, they see themselves as a silent majority, but they don't speak to the majority society. [...] Here the 'You have to be able to say that' parliamentary group finds a virtual home. ”The transitions to the AfD are“ fluid ”.

Jakob Augstein ( Der Spiegel ) called for “zero tolerance for Pegida”. Attempts to “understand” and “explain” the initiative are wrong. Anyone who demonstrates against the “Islamization of the West” is “an idiot or a racist”, since the thesis of Islamization contradicts all serious studies. Pegida shows a "crisis of parliamentary democracy" caused by the "victory of financial capitalism". Instead of looking for the causes of the problems there, Pegida looks for even weaker objects as objects of her anger. Hasnain Kazim found demonstrations against Islamization in Germany, especially Saxony, incomprehensible, unlike demonstrations against poverty in old age and unemployment or for more education. Pegida apparently has no interest in organizing amicable cooperation: “Under the guise of democratic expression of opinion, people are marginalized and made scapegoats. Christian values ​​should be defended, absurdly abandoning the principle of charity . "Since Thilo Sarrazin's theses that paved the way for the protests and in view of new attacks on asylum seekers' homes, it is to be feared that a larger section of the population will represent xenophobia and racism indefinitely.

Heribert Prantl ( Süddeutsche Zeitung ) found hardly any “diffuse fears” among the demonstrators, but rather concrete resentments towards minorities, foreigners, homosexuals and women. Contrary to her own statements, Pegida wants fewer rights for minorities. With “people who question religious freedom and treat refugees shabbily”, no dialogue would make sense. Hannah Beitzer (also SZ) stated that the only link between the Pegida supporters was their “anger and the demarcation against alleged threats from outside”. Citing a sentence by the publicist Götz Kubitschek at the rally on April 13, 2015 ("It is a pleasure to be angry.") , She writes that "apart from this pleasure [...] the movement has nothing to offer".

Matthias Matussek ( Die Welt ) commented on the protesters' closeness to the media: Angry citizens had become “dumb citizens” who no longer wanted to “make” a state. This was also caused by a FAZ call to “renounce differentiation” in the Pegida claims. For Henryk M. Broder , descriptions of the demonstrators as "fearful citizens, nationalists, racists and Nazis in pinstripes" reveal a lack of understanding of democracy. The fact that politics declare the people to be “stupid” and “demand obedience instead of serving them” shows that people and politics are growing apart.

Anetta Kahane ( Frankfurter Rundschau ) sees Pegida as a “phenomenon of the East”, as a “symptom” of a successful strengthening of minority rights since 1990 and as an emotionally determined “fight against the open society”. However, this can no longer be closed.

Much attention was paid to, inter alia. the interviews that Robert Bongen and Johannes Jolmes conducted for the ARD magazine " Panorama " on December 15, 2014 at the Pegida demonstration in Dresden. They were the first and best testimony to the thoughts of those who went there, so the jury at the award ceremony "Journalists of the Year" judged: "Due to the absolute withdrawnness of the journalists and the persistent persistence, they provided the first historical testimony to this phenomenon . " In front of the panorama camera, a reporter, who was supposed to be covertly researching for RTL at Pegida , expressed as an alleged participant "latent xenophobic sayings" and only revealed his identity after the interview had been broadcast. RTL apologized for his behavior, stressed that his statements were not the station's opinion, and fired the reporter (December 20/21, 2014). Other media criticized the reporter, but not undercover research. The organizers referred to the incident with further media scolding (“Hetzers who hid themselves among us”). The head of the Panorama editorial team, Volker Steinhoff, commented on the matter as follows: “We don't know what that should be. But one thing is clear to us: It doesn't work at all! This gives a good argument to those who always shout 'lying press'. After all, he has meanwhile informed us that he works for RTL and, in 2012, also for an NDR regional studio. Which doesn't change the fact that he played the 'normal demonstrator' in front of our camera and thus did the credibility of journalists a disservice. "

The German Association of Journalists in Saxony examined legal action against Pegida, because “lying press” shouts and the reading of names of individual journalists at the rally on December 22, 2014 acted as a threat: “Obviously, some Pegida representatives understand the basic right of opinion and freedom of the press only the right to one's own opinion ”.

Alexander Grau ( Cicero ) criticized the way associations, media and politics dealt with Pegida. In essence, it is about different, equal life plans between "representatives of a multicultural society" and representatives of a "cultural homogeneity and tradition in their home country". Never before in West German history had the people been insulted like this.

The feminist Alice Schwarzer found the Pegida motto "Nonviolent and united against religious wars on German soil" acceptable, but prone to a "really xenophobic tongue". She missed outrage from politicians and demonstrations against parallel societies in Germany. These would help refugees from Islamist countries and the Muslims integrated in this country who seek protection from Islamists. Instead, Germans were seen as hostile to foreigners or to Islam, who demanded that non-integrated Muslims recognize “our value system”. The many converts who move from Europe to jihad could be the logical consequence of a false tolerance of Islamist agitation for decades.

The psychiatrist Hans-Joachim Maaz recommended politicians and the media to seriously analyze Pegida's concerns, to accept criticism and to be ready to talk. The demonstrators are not interested in Islam; For them, “Islamization” is only a “hook” to gather people together. Your real problems would be "financial crisis, environmental problems and social conflicts". The expression of this problem jam should by no means be demonized.

Volker Zastrow ( FAZ ) described Pegida as a “new nationalist movement” whose “greed for violence [...] can be grasped with hands”. Her anger at the media will "never be wiped out, because instead of the 'lying press' people want folkish observers ".

Under the impression of the right-wing extremist motivated murder of the Kassel District President Walter Lübcke in June 2019 and the subsequent defamation of the murder victim from Pegida circles, Hasnain Kazim ( Der Spiegel ) criticized the voices that demanded that "the worries and needs" should be taken care of Take citizens "seriously and seek" dialogue "with them. Anyone who criticizes these people will be "yelled at that he is curtailing freedom of expression - as if murder fantasies, justifications of violence and racism were 'opinions'". Regarding the assertion that one should no longer say everything, Kazim states that "of course in a civilized society not everything can be said": "The limit is not first set by criminal law, but rather by decency and morality." external, must be "ostracized and marginalized" and "pay a social price for it".

Jan Sternberg found in the Kieler Nachrichten the fact that there are those among the Pegida demonstrators who approve of the murder of Walter Lübcke , as surprising as the fact that “people are naked on the nudist beach”. At Pegida, the hatred speaks from their faces and is routine here. Pegida had " shrunk from the former mass movement to a sect- like self- assurance group ". Nevertheless, these statements are frightening, because Pegida is now synonymous with the AfD.

Media reports on claims

Many reports contrasted Pegida's demands with official facts and figures.

On " Islamization ":

  • In 2009 there were around 4.25 million Muslims in Germany . Their number for 2014 can only be estimated because information on religious affiliation was voluntary in the last census in 2011. In December 2014 it was estimated at around 5% (4.5 million) to 5.6% of the population based on projections. Many Germans surveyed in November 2014 greatly overestimated the proportion.
  • Demographers expect the number of Muslims in the EU (including Norway and Switzerland) to grow from 18.2 million (4.5%, 2010) to 29.8 million (7.1%) by 2030, to 9.5, assuming the immigration rate remains the same % in the whole of Europe by 2050. Temporary higher immigration rates of Muslims are thus offset by rapidly falling birth rates as a result of converging living standards. Even with much higher immigration and fertility rates, Muslims cannot reach a majority of the total population.
  • The number of Muslims in Saxony was estimated at 0.1% (≈ 4,000) to 0.7% (≈ 28,000) in 2009/2010. For 2014, the Saxon Commissioner for Foreigners estimates around 20,000 Muslims (0.48% of the total population) in Saxony.
  • In 2014 there were around 7,000 Salafists in Germany. Most are not ready to use violence, according to the protection of the constitution. According to VS President Hans-Georg Maassen , at least 450 jihadists from Germany have joined Islamist combat groups in Syria. The returnees pose a risk.
  • Around 30% of Salafists are Germans who have converted to Islam and cannot be expelled. So far, the security authorities have prevented almost all planned attacks by radical Islamists on German soil.
  • Around 100 Salafists lived in Saxony in 2013, much fewer than in other federal states. The Office for the Protection of the Constitution expects a 30% increase in Saxony.

About asylum:

  • Around 200,000 asylum seekers came to Germany in 2014. The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees has so far rejected around a third of all asylum applications from 2014. According to Bernd Mesovic, the deputy managing director of Pro Asyl , this does not mean that “these asylum seekers are people who have left their home country because of the economic situation”.
  • The BAMF recognized around 34,000 of 114,000 asylum applications by mid-December 2014. The processing time averaged seven months
  • According to the Königstein Key, Saxony accepted around 12,000 (5%) asylum seekers in 2014 and has so far recognized 0.3% of their asylum applications.
  • Rejected asylum seekers have to leave the country within 30 days and cannot file an objection, but only sue. Of all federal states, Saxony deports most of the rejected asylum seekers (almost 1,000 by October 2014).
  • Of the 202,834 asylum seekers counted in 2014, 154,191 were rejected. Of these, 40,970 people were required to leave the country immediately, and 10,884 asylum seekers were actually deported.

Regarding foreign crime in Germany:

  • In 2012, foreigners accounted for around 25% of those suspected of a crime, but not of offenders. Tourists and people passing through are also included. Foreigners are also reported and convicted more often, so that the number of suspects recorded does not allow any statements about their actual proportion of criminal offenses.
  • According to criminologist Christian Walburg, adult immigrants are "generally not more likely to attract attention to crime".
  • The number of serious crimes among young foreigners has fallen sharply and violent crimes almost halved between 2005 and 2013. Only in the case of intensive offenders did it not decrease because they are more often recorded in intensive offender programs and more often imprisoned than other young people, especially in large cities.
  • According to Dieter Kroll (Police President of Dresden), asylum seekers are no more conspicuous under criminal law than Germans, not even in the vicinity of asylum accommodation.
  • The relationship between crime and nationality is just a sham correlation .
  • Despite high levels of immigration, there has been a decline in crime in Germany for decades, as in most other countries, according to crime statistics .

To integration:

  • In 2012, 78% of the Muslims surveyed by the Federal Ministry of the Interior said they were between 14 and 32 years of age willing to integrate.
  • German politics excludes illegal parallel justice. According to a study by the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection (BMJV), there are no “Muslim judicial structures” in this country. The 2013 coalition agreement between the governing parties aims to strengthen the state's monopoly of jurisdiction.

At the cost of immigration:

  • Refugee accommodation in Germany is often poorly equipped and badly organized, so that in 2014 there was some mistreatment and overcrowding.
  • The statutory entitlement to benefits for asylum seekers of a maximum of 362 euros per person per month cost exactly 16.63 euros per inhabitant of Saxony in 2013.
  • Compared to the increased poverty in old age in Germany, asylum seekers are economically much worse off than German pensioners.
  • According to a study by Holger Bonin carried out for the Bertelsmann Foundation , the 6.6 million foreigners living in Germany paid more taxes and social security contributions in 2012 than they received transfer payments. However, general government spending on migration is controversial. According to Herwig Birg , immigration is a burden when calculating all households. Immigrants earn less, are twice as likely to be unemployed and three times as likely to receive social assistance as the autochthonous population. Their children also had poorer school-leaving qualifications. This leads to lower incomes and lower taxes paid.

That is why the "full supply" claimed by Bachmann in asylum seekers' homes contradicts reality and the Pegida demand for decentralized accommodation. The “zero tolerance” demand is based on the prejudice that foreigners are more likely to commit criminal offenses than Germans. The call “We are the people” is directed against the weaker minority of asylum seekers at Pegida, as in the NPD actions in Schneeberg. Because neo-Nazis ran with Pegida, the emphasized demarcation from right-wing extremism is implausible.

The Free Press Saxony (December 20, 2014) pointed out that the existing legal situation and politics had already met most of the demands:

  • According to the Basic Law and the Geneva Convention , war refugees must be admitted.
  • The German Residence Act (Section 43) obliges the integration and expulsion of foreigners sentenced to several years in prison. Imams convicted as criminals can also be expelled.
  • Only recognized asylum seekers are allowed to attend free integration and language courses.
  • In 2013, 38.5% of almost 81,000 asylum applications were rejected as unfounded, in a further 36.7% of the cases, formal decisions were made, such as deportation within Europe. 1.1% of the applicants received asylum, 12.3% refugee protection, and 11.4% were legally prohibited from deportation.
  • Municipalities primarily accommodate asylum seekers in a decentralized manner.
  • In Saxony, controls did not reveal any inhumane conditions.
  • Saxony stopped the downsizing of the police in 2013 and deported the most asylum seekers in a national comparison.
  • The "Sharia police" of some Salafists were banned.

The report admits that five EU states, including Germany, take almost all refugees into EU territory because some of the arrival states allow them to continue their journey without control. It has not yet been possible to achieve an even distribution quota. The federal states have determined the number of asylum seekers that a social worker has to look after inconsistently or not at all.

The report mentions Pegida's prejudices, errors and contradictions:

  • The expression “Christian-Jewish Occident” disregards the long history of anti-Judaism in Europe and marginalizes Islam.
  • To mention only Muslims in the context of misogynist and violent ideologies shows that they are considered more violent and misogynist.
  • The general quick deportation of delinquent foreigners (“zero tolerance”) is contrary to the rule of law .
  • Shorter asylum procedures resulted in more homeless people living illegally in the Netherlands.
  • For decades, referendums prevented women from voting in Switzerland .
  • A ban on weapons for the PKK contradicts a Bundestag resolution and means allowing mass murders of and Islamization of the Kurds by the IS terrorist group.
  • Anyone who wants to immigrate must recognize Germany as a country of immigration and develop an effective system of integration aids.
  • The immigration rates in three of the countries named as role models are higher than here.
  • To reject gender mainstreaming across the board contradicts the constitutionally guaranteed equality of men and women and the demand for sexual self-determination.

Because the catalog of demands does not go beyond current law and politically desired goals, it should rather bundle and mobilize a general distrust of established politics and the media.

A report from Jena highlights contradictions in the demands that point to intentions other than those given:

  • “No religious wars on European soil” actually excludes the later demanded admission of war refugees.
  • Consistent deportation in accordance with the Dublin II Regulation ( Regulation (EC) No. 343/2003 , 2003) means that Germany is completely sealed off, because in this case only refugees entering via the North and Baltic Seas would be “legal”. Thus, saying yes to “real” war refugees is “a simple but well-disguised lie”.
  • Immediate expulsion of radical Islamists and "illegal" asylum seekers mixed two issues and hit refugees who had fled Islamists in their home countries.

The integration media service refuted Pegida's “myths and resentments”, among other things: Most migrants are unwilling to integrate, excessively burden the social security funds, are particularly often unemployed and criminal, most asylum seekers are economic refugees and refuse to be deported after a refusal notice.

Inquiries from journalists "from when, in the opinion of the Pegida initiators, a Muslim is sufficiently integrated" were not made possible. Jasper von Altenbockum (FAZ) sees the demands as an "alibi" because they have not been presented, practically justified or explained and contradict the slogans called out: They want to take in refugees, but then prevent collective accommodation, they demand things that the policy is already implementing , and then refer to politicians as “traitors”. Therefore, Pegida is “anti-democratic” and characterized by “contempt for parties, politicians and the press”. The demonstrators are manipulated "followers". Bettina Gaus (Die Tageszeitung) found the demands "ambiguous": Since nobody seriously fears Islamization of Germany, this slogan is actually aimed at Muslims in Germany. That is why the Pegida rallies are xenophobic and racist.

Elmar Theveßen described the demographically inaccurate “Islamization” of Germany and Europe claimed by Pegida as a “propaganda lie”. This is a dangerous link between the Islamophobes in Europe and can easily be used to justify violence. Battle scenes and battle rhetoric from a video with which some groups called for Pegida rallies, used the same motifs of an allegedly necessary defensive struggle for the Christian West as the Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik .

For some authors, the German mass media's image of Islam contributed significantly to Pegida. According to Katja Thorwarth ( Frankfurter Rundschau ), supporters of Islam hatred and fear of foreign infiltration, especially from images in the Springer press of “dangerous Islamists” and “socially parasitic asylum seekers”, and their social envy arguments from titles such as “Iraqis, Afghans, Pakistanis - alarmingly high Hartz IV quota for foreigners ". The German-Turkish Journal referred to titles such as “Mecca Germany - The silent Islamization”, “Islam as an obstacle to integration”, “Holy hatred”, “How dangerous is Islam?”, “Allah's bloody land”, “Back to the Middle Ages” or "Gettos in Germany". The German mass media would have “fueled the resentment” for higher editions for which they condemned the German petty bourgeois today. An analysis by the Federal Agency for Civic Education in 2007 showed that ARD and ZDF mostly only reported on Islam on issues of violence and conflict, so that their topic structure was "Islamophobic". Since they see themselves as “people educators” and “opinion leaders”, Pegida's participants are, despite their media rejection, their “docile students” who reflect precisely that image of Islam that has been widespread for a long time.


Werner J. Patzelt saw Pegida as the result of a political failure and an indication of a serious problem in society. Initiatives critical of Islam and immigration could develop into a new social movement. The demonstrators are ordinary citizens who the CDU can reach if they stop their “ ostrich policy ” on immigration. “Exclusion” of the participants was “counterproductive because the concerns that people took to the streets because of, remained topical, such as“ the passively accepted immigration events ”and the“ worsening distribution conflicts in the lower third ”of German society. "

PEGIDA acts as an "interface between ultra-nationalism and democratic nationalism", according to right-wing extremism researcher Bernd Wagner (2015). It is a " völkisch movement" that has "partially assumed a right-wing radical valence".

For the sociologist and economist Oliver Nachtwey , Pegida is not originally right-wing extremist, but an expression of radicalization in the middle of society, a rebellion against a democracy that conforms to the market and is dominated by economic interests. For him, Pegida is an assembly of “right-wing angry citizens”.

According to the political sociologist Gudrun Hentges (2015), PEGIDA constructs “enemy images” and stirs up “resentment, xenophobia and racism”.

For the interdisciplinary scientists Heinrich Best , Wolfgang Frindte , Daniel Geschke, Nicole Haußecker and Franziska Schmidtke from the Competence Center for Right-Wing Extremism at the Friedrich Schiller University Jena , PEGIDA is an Islamophobic movement. Furthermore, the march of the “angry citizens” is mainly fed by right-wing extremists and populists, AfD supporters and people who fall into the category of group -related misanthropy (see research by Wilhelm Heitmeyer and others). With the catchphrase "Islamization" one wants to make racism and nationalistic positions socially acceptable, so Samuel Salzborn . The PEGIDA supporters, who are far from democracy, have an “authoritarian and counter-enlightenment view of the world”. With Islamism they are involuntarily "brothers in spirit". Reiner Becker stated that the PEGIDA demonstrations would give right-wing extremists "confirmation and an accepted mandate" which they could use for violent activities.

According to the Austrian political scientist Karin Liebhart, PEGIDA is one of a “series of right-wing populist initiatives” in recent years. It offers “perfect connection options for right-wing extremist groups, traditional and new”. There is “a negative to hostile attitude towards immigrants”, especially from Muslim countries. In some cases, Muslims are also generally rejected. "Xenophobia and Islamophobia" and the "essentializing propagation of anti-pluralist social models" connect PEGIDA with the pro-movement , the FPÖ and SVP . In addition, there are certain “overlaps” with the AfD (keyword “Islamization”) and the Identitarian Movement .

The political scientist Frank Decker (2015) attested the PEGIDA movement “xenophobic [] and right-wing extremist [] tendencies”. It could be interpreted as "an expression of [the] right-wing populist mood in large parts of the East German electorate", "which brought the AfD [...] two-digit results". There are indications that the movement has meanwhile “diffused” into a “violent milieu”.

The extremism researcher Eckhard Jesse found that Pegida often expresses “diffuse” criticism of resentment with regard to the immigration policy practiced. He made xenophobia and “general reservations about the media”.

According to the social scientist Samuel Salzborn (2017), the statements of the demonstration participants are "the lament of an extremely politically lazy clientele who have comfortably settled in not actually having to become politically active themselves [...] - and who instead compensate for their own political laziness, that they take part in folk mass productions like those of Pegida and in this way can hallucinate their own passivity, which is paired with destructive affects, in their self-image as part of political engagement. "

The educational scientist Astrid Messerschmidt (2018) speaks of a defense "against the factually long lived pluralities". In the Pegida campaigns, “the reservation towards immigrants and refugees is expressed conspicuously by those who are rarely confronted with everyday realities of migration society and for whom this is not part of their own horizon of experience. Phenomena of the denial of reality and of clinging to the idea of ​​a nationalist ideal of purity can be seen here ”.

According to the sociologist Greta Hartmann and the cultural scientist Alexander Leistner (2019), Pegida consciously ties in with the demonstrations during the time of reunification in the GDR through the form of the Monday demonstration and the use of the slogan “We are the people” . Using the narrative of the allegedly necessary resistance , one again marks a “democracy of the street” against the “elites”, but is much more violent than the peaceful revolution of 1989: For example, from Pegida demonstrators to the tune of Fuchs, you stole the goose Merkel was threatened that “the Saxon” would fetch her “with the rifle ”.

Opinion polls

According to a survey by TNS Emnid in mid-December 2014, 53% of East Germans and 48% of West Germans understood the Pegida demonstrations, including 86% of AfD supporters, 54% of Union supporters, 46% of SPD- Supporters and 19% each of supporters of the left and the green . 43% of Germans believe that the Pegida demonstrators are primarily “citizens concerned about the spread of Islam”. 33% suspect that their demonstrations are mostly attended by right-wing extremists.

In a survey by YouGov from December 12 to 15, 2014 on behalf of Zeit Online , 30% of 1107 respondents said they fully understood the demonstrations. 19% showed more understanding than incomprehension. 26% showed partial understanding, 10% showed little understanding and a further 13% no understanding at all.

In a survey conducted by TNS Research for Der Spiegel in December 2014, 65% of the Germans questioned stated that the governing parties of the grand coalition did not adequately address their concerns about refugee policy and immigration. 28% did not see such a deficit. 34% of those questioned saw increasing Islamization in Germany.

According to a representative survey by TNS Emnid on December 17 and 18, 2014, 85% of 1,006 respondents said they were not ready to demonstrate for Pegida's goals. 9% (54% of AfD supporters) said they wanted to demonstrate.

According to a Forsa survey of December 18, 2014, 67% of the Germans surveyed consider the danger of Islamization in Germany to be exaggerated. 29% (71% of AfD supporters) see too great an influence of Islam in this country and consider protest marches against it to be justified. 13% would take part in such protests near their own place of residence. 10% (57% of AfD supporters) would vote for an Islamophobic party.

According to a special evaluation by the Bertelsmann Foundation's “Religion Monitor” , which was supplemented with a survey by TNS-Emnid from November 2014, a majority of Germans consider Islam to be dangerous and there is a “high level of sympathy” with the “slogans” of the Pegida recorded. According to this, 57% of Germans saw Islam as a threat. 40% felt like “strangers in their own country” and 24% would like to ban the immigration of Muslims. These attitudes can be found in all political camps and social classes.

In a representative INSA survey, every second respondent was of the opinion that the Pegida demonstrations were not reported objectively in the media. INSA boss Hermann Binkert commented on the result: “The mood in the population, i.e. public opinion, is more diverse than the published opinion. The impression of a one-sided reporting is grist to the mills of Pegida. "

Outside of Germany

Rallies and counter-demonstrations

date city Number of participants in Pegida
Number of participants counter demo
January 12, 2015 Oslo 200 500
February 2nd Vienna 300 Offensive against the right : 5,000
February 8th Linz 150 Linz against right :
according to the police 1,600 to 1,800
according to the organizers 3,200.
February 9 Malmo 150 3,000
21st of February Linz 100 1,800
February 28 Newcastle upon Tyne 375 1500

In January 2015, groups of 15 to 200 Pegida supporters demonstrated in several cities in Norway. In Copenhagen ( Denmark ) Pegida supporters met on January 19 about the 200th On February 9, 2015, around 80 to 100 supporters of Pegida demonstrated in Malmö ( Sweden ). In Linköping on March 2, four Pegida demonstrators met around 300 counter-demonstrators.

A rally planned for January 26, 2015 by “Pegida Vlaanderen” in Antwerp (Belgium) banned the city for security reasons. The offshoot is considered a reservoir for racist and neo-fascist Islamophobes and was founded by supporters of the right-wing extremist party Vlaams Belang and the separatist organization Voorpost . On March 2, 2015, around 200 Pegida supporters demonstrated in Antwerp.

On February 28, 2015, around 300 British Pegida supporters met around 1,500 counter-demonstrators at their first demonstration in Newcastle upon Tyne . On March 21, 2015, a large group of counter-demonstrators gathered in Edinburgh against a planned demonstration by Pegida supporters that was barely noticeable due to the lack of participants. One of the organizers of the British Pegida offshoot was the prominent English Defense League activist Tommy Robinson .

About 100 Pegida supporters demonstrated on March 11, 2015 in L'Hospitalet ( Catalonia ).

In March 2015, Pegida sympathizers gathered twice in Montreal (Canada). The first march was not carried out because the roughly handful of participants faced several hundred counter-demonstrators. The second march was canceled due to violence.

Reactions to the German Pegida

The US State Department published on 26 January 2015 warning in connection with Pegida rallies potential dangers especially for people living in Germany US citizens.

Many international media reported on Pegida. According to Le Monde (France), Islamophobia divides Germany. Liberation and L'Opinion discussed possible parallels with the Front National . Some French and Francophone cartoonists, including a Charlie Hebdo employee , issued a flyer with cartoons against the Pegida funeral march on January 12, 2015. They protested against Pegida taking over the memory of the victims of the Charlie Hebdo attack . Pegida stands for everything that these victims have fought. They called on the people of Dresden to be open-minded and tolerant.

According to The Times (United Kingdom), a populist movement in Germany has been publicly complaining about an “ethnic minority” for the first time since 1945. That scares the " establishment ". According to BBC News , Germany is not used to so many demonstrators with such goals. The Guardian described Pegida as an "emerging anti-alien campaign" that endangers tourism.

According to the New York Times (USA), Dresden is more xenophobic than the rest of Germany because of its “communist” past. The claim of "Islamization" is astonishing in view of the few Muslims in Saxony.

The American Internet magazine counts Pegida as one of the far-right movements that are gaining popularity in Europe and sees a connection between their growth and right-wing terrorist activities.

Russia Today (Russia) reported extensively on Pegida. As with HoGeSa, thesubsidiary Ruptly broadcast several rallies in Dresden live on the Internet.

Hürriyet and Sabah (Turkey) reported on Pegida and counter-protests, Sabah saw a "rise of the radical right in Europe". In an interview with the FAZ, the Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu comparedthe Pegida supporters with members of the IS militia . Both have a "medieval" mindset. Turkey is "very concerned about Pegida". The movement threatens “Turks, Muslims and Germany itself”.

The Arab news channel Al Jazeera (Qatar) reported in particular on the counter-demonstrations.

The Lidové noviny (Czech Republic) criticized Angela Merkel's response to Pegida. Not they, but the courts decided where the line between freedom of criticism and agitation runs. The target of the demonstrators is the entire government and media establishment, as the gap between the opinions of the elites and those of an ever-growing section of society is widening.

Criminal proceedings against Pegida organizers, speakers and participants

In total, the authorities counted 940 crimes from October 2014 - the first Pegida demonstration in Dresden - to November 2015. The offenses range from bodily harm to insult and threat to the use of marks of unconstitutional organizations . In addition, there are offenses outside of the actual rallies, such as membership in a terrorist organization , planned attacks on refugee homes and two bomb attacks carried out by Pegida activists or accused by the investigative authorities. Various observers recognize a connection between the significant increase in attacks on asylum seekers' homes and the Pegida movement.

Lutz Bachmann is convicted of sedition

Beginning in October 2015 raised the prosecutor at the district court of Dresden against the repeatedly convicted Pegida-chairman Lutz Bachmann accused of sedition because of two in September 2014 Facebook published posts in which Bachmann foreigners as "brutes", "Gelumpe" and "mud pack" had insulted ( Ref .: 201 Js 3262/15). Thus Bachmann have accepted the public peace disturbing. Bachmann attacked "the human dignity of the refugees, insulted them and made them maliciously contemptible and thereby incited hatred against them". According to the public prosecutor's office, private individuals had also filed charges for incitement to hatred because of further Facebook posts and because Bachmann referred to asylum seekers across the board as criminals at a Pegida rally in September 2015 .

On May 3, 2016, Bachmann was sentenced by the Dresden District Court to a fine of 120 daily rates of 80 euros (9600 euros) each for sedition. Both Bachmann and the public prosecutor's office appealed regarding the sentence, but withdrew it on November 30, 2016, so that the judgment is also legally binding in this respect.

Akif Pirinçci was convicted of sedition

Akif Pirinçci (2014)

After a first appearance in December 2014 at the Bonn-based Pegida offshoot Bogida , organized by right-wing extremists , in which he read a short passage from his book Deutschland von Sinnen , the writer Akif Pirinçci stepped in on the anniversary of the Pegida demonstrations on October 19, 2015 Dresden again as a "star guest". The day before, he had already announced a text on his blog , addressed expressly to the "Mr. [n] Public Prosecutor", "which will set standards in terms of angry speech in this country". In particular the wording

"Obviously one seems to have put aside the fear and respect for their own people in the power [specifically with reference to a named regional president responsible for refugee accommodation ] so completely that one can recommend leaving the country with a shrug if he kindly does not parry. [Pause, applause from the audience, shouts of "resistance"] There are of course other alternatives. But unfortunately the concentration camps are currently out of order. [Applause from the audience] "

After the reading of the speech, which Bachmann had interrupted due to lack of time, triggered a strong media response and was initially interpreted by several well-known leading German media as a request from Pirinçci to send refugees to concentration camps. Concentration camps were used by the National Socialists to exterminate European Jews and other groups identified as hostile. In fact, as the context makes clear, Pirinçci insinuated that German politicians wanted to send critics of German refugee policy to concentration camps. Most of the media expressly corrected misinterpretations after a short time, while Pirinçci takes legal action against other media who would damage his reputation through alleged misrepresentations .

In his speech, Pirinçci also referred to politicians as “ Gauleiter against their own people”, today's Germany as a “shitty state” and asylum seekers as “fleeing sluts”. Muslims would “pump unbelievers full of their Muslim juice”, there was a threat of a “Muslim rubbish dump” in Germany. Alliance 90 / The Greens he called a " children Ficker Party " and the speaker of the Erfurt mosque a "Muslim Fritzen with Taliban -bart" who have so much in common with the German culture "as my asshole with perfumery".

Pegida founder Lutz Bachmann apologized the following day for Pirinçci's “impossible performance” and said that he “had to make the only right decision and switch off the microphone immediately”. The fact that he failed to do this was a "serious mistake".

The Dresden District Court issued a penalty order against Pirinçci for a fine of 180 daily rates of 65 euros each. The court saw the offense of sedition in his Pegida appearance fulfilled; the penalty order was served on February 1, 2017. In the main hearing following Pirinçci's objection , the offense of sedition was confirmed and the sentence was changed to a fine of 90 daily rates. In view of his precarious situation, the daily rate was reduced to 30 euros.

Judgments or investigations against the Munich Pegida board

Based on the contacts of Heinz Meyer, board member of the Munich association Pegida, with the convicted right-wing terrorist Martin Wiese, the Bavarian State Criminal Police Office has been investigating Meyer on behalf of the Attorney General since 2012 on suspicion of the formation of a terrorist organization .

Meyer has not had a gun license since 2015 after he was caught during illegal shooting practice in the open air in April 2014 with a semi-automatic weapon and was fined for it.

At the rally on the Square of the Victims of National Socialism in October 2015, Meyer, as the leader of the meeting, quoted the sentence “ Do you want total war? "By Joseph Goebbels and railed against" pig migrants ". At the beginning of 2016, Meyer was sentenced to a fine of EUR 2,100 as the chairman of the assembly for violating the Bavarian Assembly Act, as the district administration department had expressly forbidden him to use such Nazi slogans in the notice before the rally.

In March 2016, Meyer hit a 75-year-old woman so hard at the Pegida information stand that she fell and had to be hospitalized with a laceration on her face. In January 2017, Meyer was sentenced to a fine of 140 daily rates. Meyer is also chairman of the association “Die Bayerische Schießsportgruppe München”, founded in 2012, which is suspected of being the armed arm of Pegida. At the end of April 2017, 120 state police forces across Bavaria searched a total of 11 objects belonging to the association or its members and seized illegal weapons and extensive data. In addition to a possible association ban, there are now investigations into violations of the weapons law . Bavaria's Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann expressed concern that the association “intends to aggressively implement the anti-constitutional goals of Pegida Munich, for example by attacking minorities such as refugees and Muslims”.

On the occasion of a counter-demonstration to an event in the trade union building at the beginning of November 2017, Munich-based Pegida made positive reference to the right-wing terrorist National Socialist underground . Similar to the NSU in its confession videos, a video projection used motifs from the television series Der Rosarote Panther and announced a “hunt” for anti-fascists. The action was accordingly interpreted as a threat of terrorism. The police stepped in and the state security authorities opened an investigation on suspicion of approving criminal offenses .

Investigations against Nuremberg registrants for Pegida due to planned attacks on refugee homes

In October 2015, the Bavarian police uncovered a right-wing extremist terror cell in Franconia, which also includes right-wing extremist Dan Eising, who reported the Nuremberg Nügida demonstrations. Weapons, explosives and swastika flags as well as other symbols of unconstitutional organizations were confiscated and, in addition to Eising, various members of the neo-Nazi party Dierechte were arrested. Most of the 13 suspects have a relevant criminal record for violations of the Assembly Act, the use of symbols of anti-constitutional organizations and willful bodily harm, one of whom was also charged with child sexual abuse , threats and coercion.

Conviction of Pegida speaker Nino Köhler for the bomb attacks on the Dresden mosque and the congress center

Shortly before the central celebrations for the Day of German Unity 2016 in Dresden, a bomb attack was carried out on the Fatih Mosque and the congress center. Nino Köhler, who gave a speech at a Pegida rally in 2015, was arrested in December 2016 as a right-wing terrorist perpetrator . On February 5, 2018, the defendant justified the two acts before the Dresden Regional Court : I just wanted to set an example . The Dresden public prosecutor's office accused him of attempted murder , attempted dangerous bodily harm , causing explosives and serious arson . At the end of August 2018, he was sentenced to nine years and eight months in prison for attempted murder, particularly serious arson and the making of incendiary devices. According to the court ruling, he made the pipe bombs used in the bombings himself.


The Pogida founder Christian Müller is also well-known to the police: In June 2016, a total of 170 proceedings related to him were recorded in the internal data system for the years 2002 to 2015, and he is also marked with the notes "drug crime", "armed" and " violent ”. By that time, he said he had already spent five years in prison.

In March 2019, the public prosecutor announced that Müller would have to serve a ten-month prison sentence.

At the beginning of July 2019, the Dresden Public Prosecutor's Office started investigations against unknown persons on suspicion of rewarding and approving criminal offenses , sedition and denigration of the deceased, after several people at the Pegida demonstration in Dresden contemptuously spoke out in front of the camera about the alleged neo-Nazi murdered CDU politician Walter Lübcke . Participants in the demonstration said the murder was a "human reaction" or that a murder "every two or three years, for some reason of hatred, is relatively normal".


Web links

Commons : PEGIDA  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Pegida  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

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