Wave of anti-Islam & pro-tolerance rallies hits Germany

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Thousands of protesters both supporting and opposing Islamic immigrants flooded the streets of Berlin, Dresden and Leipzig on Monday. People marched, waving German national and regional flags and holding banners eulogizing the Charlie Hebdo victims with a minute’s silence for those killed in France last week. A few scuffles between protesters and police officials reportedly took place in Leipzig, where police had to hold back over 25,000 counter-demonstrators in an attempt to prevent clashes between two groups of supporters. Both sets of protesters in Dresden banged on a dividing fence keeping the rival protests apart, and exchanged lewd hand gestures.

The popularity of PEGIDA (Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West) has risen since they were formed in late 2014. Baergida, Berlin's section of the movement, gathered just hundreds of supporters on Monday, while the LEGIDA (Leipzig Against the Islamization of the West) demonstration Leipzig was attended by 40,000 people – both supporting and opposing the movement.