Thousands of protesters rallied across four cities in Germany on Monday to denounce a recent wave of demonstrations by nationalist parties against immigration and the “Islamization of the West.”
The counter protest movement was expected to draw a crowd of 10,000 in Berlin and several thousand more in Dresden, Stuttgart and Cologne, the Associated Press reports.
Protest organizers said they would endorse a message of tolerance and urge Germans to reject the nationalist ideology of a movement that has united under the name Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West, or PEGIDA.
“You’re taking part in an action that, from its roots and also from speeches, one can see is Nazi-ist, racist and extremist,” the provost of Cologne’s famous cathedral, Norbert Feldhoff, told AP. Churches and city hall in the cities agreed to darken their lights in solidarity with the counter protest.