MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Some 5,000 anti-immigration and anti-Islamization protesters have gathered in central Dresden after Pegida called for an international day of action to be held across European cities on Saturday, Deutschlandfunk public broadcaster reported on its website.
Pegida's "Fortress Europe" day of action in Dresden saw various speakers from Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, Poland, the Netherlands, Slovakia and Estonia address the crowd. The speakers carried posters slamming Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel over her role in Europe's refugee crisis, Epoch Times Deutschland newspaper reported live from the rally.
Rallies were also held in the Czech Republic, Poland, the Netherlands, France, Ireland and Britain. Over 100 people attended the local Pegida "silent march" in the British city of Birmingham, where a counter-rally was also held, ITV News reported.
In France's Calais, which has been a hotspot during the ongoing refugee crisis, around 150 anti-migrant protesters clashed with police after defying of a ban on rallies, France's RFI radio said.
Pegida, an acronym for Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West, began organizing rallies in its home city of Dresden, in October 2014, attracting hundreds and later thousands of supporters.
The far-right German movement gained support in many member states of the European Union amid rising anti-migrant sentiment as Europe faces its biggest refugee crisis since World War II.