Thousands protest in east Germany against anti-migrant group
Ten thousands people in the eastern city of Dresden protested against anti-migrant group in Germany.
Mainstream parties, labor unions and civil society groups staged a march with the slogan "heart not hatred."
PEGIDA, whose name stands for Patriotic Europeans against immigration to West, celebrated its' fourth birthday on Sunday.
German news agency dpa reported that the group held a separate rally in Dresden, attended by about 5,000 people.
Some protesters paraded with large portraits of victims of attacks perpetrated, they claimed, by asylum-seekers, while others brandished banners reading "Chemnitz is neither grey nor brown" and "The heart rather than hate".
The government lent its support to the pro-migrant rally through Foreign Minister Heiko Maas who tweeted: "The Second World War started 79 years ago. Germany caused unimaginable suffering in Europe. If once again people are parading today in the streets making Nazi salutes, our past history forces us to resolutely defend democracy."
In Jul. 23, around 25,000 people braved the rain in Munich to protest the hard-line immigration stance of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Bavarian allies three months before they face a tough state election in Bavaria.
The violence and heated debate on immigration have brought back to the fore what has become the most challenging political issue for Merkel, especially in the former communist east of Germany where the far-right anti-immigration alternative for Germany (AfD) is the number one party in some towns and regions.
Following criticism of Merkel's earlier open door policy, her government has increasingly tightened asylum laws as conservative and far-right disquiet has grown.
After an initially jubilant welcome, the migrant influx sparked a strong backlash that saw a spate of hate crimes and swept once-fringe party AfD into parliament.