Pegida calls on supporters to put flags in windows after march ban

German ‘anti-Islamisation’ group’s Monday night rally cancelled after threat

Pegida frontman Lutz Bachmann: At previous marches he told  supporters he was wearing a bulletproof vest. Photograph: Robert Michael/AFP/

Pegida frontman Lutz Bachmann: At previous marches he told supporters he was wearing a bulletproof vest. Photograph: Robert Michael/AFP/

 

Germany’s asylum- and Islam-critical Pegida movement has called on supporters to put flags and candles in their windows after a terrorist threat forced it to cancel its 13th Monday-night march in Dresden.

Citing a “concrete” threat, Dresden police imposed a blanket ban on all marches this evening, including on the group that dubs itself “Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the Occident”.

“We no longer view this is an abstract danger but a concrete one,” said Dresden police chief Dieter Kroll, citing a threat against today’s planned march and a “member of the organisation team” of Pegida.

On its Facebook page, Pegida said “terrorists” from the Islamic State movement had ordered the “execution” of a member of its organisation.

Pegida saw itself forced to cancel the march out of responsibility for the safety of marchers, it added, “as collateral damage is considered likely from an attack”.

‘Known jihadists’

The concrete threat is reportedly directed at Pegida frontman Lutz Bachmann, a graphic and web designer who has attracted attention for his weekly warnings about unchecked migration and criminal asylum-seekers. At previous marches Bachmann told Pegida supporters he was wearing a bullet-proof vest.

Another Pegida organiser will explain the cancellation of the march at a press conference this morning in Dresden.

Marches by Pegida sister organisations are likely to go ahead in Leipzig and Munich.

Counter-demonstration

In an increasingly heated atmosphere, Pegida has dismissed critics’ claims it has stirred up xenophobic sentiment in eastern Germany with its attacks on the country’s response to a sharp rise in asylum applications.

Rather than spontaneous demos, Pegida urged “all Europeans in favour of freedom of expression and against religious fanaticism” to put flags or candles in their windows.

The news prompted a fresh wave of emotional debate between Pegida supporters and opponents on its Facebook page. “I bet the streets will still be full,” wrote one user.

Another called the announcement “more free publicity” for Pegida, while others criticised its candle-and-flag proposal as another idea borrowed from the playbook of East Germany’s 1989 civil rights movement.