Pegida: Political Islam is now in Southern Mexico and Latin America
Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West (Occident) (German: Patriotische Europäer gegen die Islamisierung des Abendlandes), abbreviated PEGIDA or Pegida, is a German nationalist, anti-Islam, far-right political movement founded in Dresden in October 2014 that aims to resist what it sees as a threat posed by Islamic extremism, Islamisation and calling for the enforcement of existing laws to curb immigration, particularly for those Muslims who don’t want to integrate. Offshoots of Pegida have been formed in various countries
Offshoots and variations
Pegida has spawned a number of smaller offshoots across Germany, including Legida in Leipzig, Sügida in Südthüringen, Kagida in Kassel, Wügida in Würzburg, Bogida in Bonn, Dügida in Düsseldorf, and Fragida in Frankfurt. After some internal disputes, representatives of Pegida NRW, an affiliate aiming to operate in the federal state of North Rhine Westphalia, distanced itself from the Bogida, Dügida and Kögida clones in North Rhine Westphalia. The latter were said to have been taken over by members of the openly xenophobic right-wing splinter party Pro NRW. In January 2015, Pegida NRW replaced their media representative Melanie Dittmer with Sebastian Nobile, a member of the German Defence League, an anti-Islamist organisation modelled on the English Defence League.
In December 2014, rival right-wing forces founded an anti-American Facebook group under the name PEGADA (German: Patriotische Europäer gegen die Amerikanisierung des Abendlandes, or “Patriotic Europeans Against the Americanization of the West”), claiming the true problem was not the phenomenon of Islamism but the suspected American forces behind it. On 25 January they held a first rally in Erfurt under the title EnDgAmE (Engagierte Demokraten gegen die Amerikanisierung Europas, or “Committed democrats against the Americanisation of Europe”). Promoted by a number of activists of the Third Position Mahnwachen-Movement and by Hooligans against Salafists (Hogesa). they attracted some 1,000 protesters, but were opposed by 800 mostly left-wing counter-demonstrators including Erfurt’s mayor Andreas Bausewein and trade union members, Jusos and the local Antifa.
In January 2015, Pegida sympathisers held their first rally in Oslo, Norway with around 200 protesters, but this support quickly collapsed. In neighbouring Denmark, around 200 protesters marched in the capital, Copenhagen. In the same month, a Spanish branch applied for a protest outside the main mosque in Madrid, which was rejected by government officials. Marches were planned in Switzerland and Antwerp, Belgium but not permitted due to anti-terrorism raids in Verviers one week earlier. The Antwerp demonstration was finally held on 2 March 2015 without the mayor’s permission. About 350 persons were present and about 227 of them received a fine for participating in an unauthorised demonstration.
On 28 February 2015, Pegida UK held its first protest in Newcastle upon Tyne, with around 400 attending. Around 1,000 people turned up to oppose, led by former MP George Galloway. There was a small Pegida demonstration in London on 4 April 2015, with a counter-demonstration by anti-fascist groups.
The first Pegida demonstration in Sweden gathered eight people in Malmö and 5,000 opponents. When Pegida called a demonstration in Linköping they gathered four persons. In Uppsala Pegida managed to gather about ten persons. Following several failed demonstrations and internal strife the Swedish branch dissolved.
A demonstration on 28 March 2015 in Montreal, Canada by sympathisers of Pegida was cancelled when hundreds of people gathered to counter-protest. A demonstration on 19 September 2015 in Toronto was attended by about a dozen members of Pegida Canada. The demonstration ended in a melee with counter-protesters who outnumbered Pegida members about twenty to one.
Political Scientist Farid Hafez argues that Pegida was not able to settle down in Austria, since the far right FPÖ already represented the ideology of Pegida in parliament and absorbed most of the far right human ressources.