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A protester holds a poster reading "No Islamisation of Europe" during the demonstration called "Berlin Patriots Against the Islamization of the West" in Berlin on Jan. 5, 2015
Markus Schreiber—AP

Thousands of people took to the streets of several German cities on Monday night, protesting against what they see as the Islamization of Europe.

A group known as Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West (Pegida) staged an 18,000-strong march in Dresden, and organized other marches in Berlin, Cologne and Stuttgart, the New York Times reports.

Senior politicians including German Chancellor Angela Merkel have condemned the group as extremist and xenophobic.

In response, tens of thousands of people staged counterprotests in Berlin, Cologne and Dresden.

The lights of Cologne Cathedral, and Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate and TV Tower, were switched off, in a move by local authorities to show solidarity with German Muslims.


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