Dresden (Germany) (AFP) – Germany’s anti-Islam party PEGIDA stepped up its attacks on Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday, slamming her as “the most dangerous woman in Europe” and demanding she resign.
PEGIDA leader Tatjana Festerling told a rally of thousands of supporters in the eastern city of Dresden that Merkel’s policy of welcoming refugees had turned Germany into a “gigantic camp in the jungle”.
Festerling, who came fourth in Dresden’s mayoral elections in June with 10 percent of the vote, denounced Merkel as
“irresponsible” describing her as “the most dangerous woman in Europe”.
Germany, Europe’s largest economy, is expected to take in up to a million people fleeing war and poverty this year, sparking anger among anti-foreigner groups and the PEGIDA movement (“Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the Occident”).
At the latest in a series of weekly rallies, Festerling accused Merkel of deliberately refusing to “protect Germany’s borders”.
The group emerged about a year ago with several hundred people showing up for “Monday strolls” in Dresden, although it’s numbers grew in the following months.
At its peak, the xenophobic rallies attracted 25,000 marchers in Dresden, but also sparked far larger anti-fascist rallies in cities across Germany.
The movement fizzled early this year following bickering among the leadership and after co-founder Lutz Bachmann sparked uproar with his anti-foreigner slurs and Facebook selfies showing him sporting a Hitler moustache and hair-do.