German Groups Mobilize Against Rise of Far Right
German civil rights groups are mobilizing against the newly elected far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party and other more hardline groups, vowing to avert the even stronger rightward lurch seen in neighboring countries, Reuters reports.
Thousands of protesters are expected in the eastern city of Dresden on Saturday when the anti-Islam PEGIDA movement celebrates its third anniversary.
PEGIDA - Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West - has seen dwindling crowds since early 2015, with the AfD absorbing some of its supporters.
The AfD won almost 13 percent of the vote in the Sept. 24 national election, making it the third largest party in the Bundestag, or lower house of parliament, and the first far-right party to win seats in more than half a century.
Exit polls showed that 60 percent of AfD voters cast a “protest vote”, with many angry at Chancellor Angela Merkel’s 2015 decision to allow in over a million mainly Muslim migrants.
Experts say the party’s rise is also part of a global trend that has brought right-leaning parties or leaders to power in Poland, Hungary, and most recently, Austria.
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