​Pegida UK to march on Downing Street, anti-fascists pledge to confront them

A man gestures at police officers during a demonstration by supporters of the Pegida movement in Newcastle, northern England (Reuters / Peter Nicholls)
The British offshoot of “anti-Islamism” movement Pegida plans to hold a rally outside Downing Street this Saturday with the stated aim of defending “country, values and culture.”

Pegida UK, which models itself on the German movement of the same name, claims to oppose what it see as the creeping Islamization of the Western world.

The name translates as Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West.

READ MORE: ‘Pegida not welcome here!’ Newcastle counter-protest to reject ‘twisted prejudice’

However, their rally will not go unopposed, as anti-racist group United Against Fascism (UAF) plans to stage a counter-demonstration.

UAF say Pegida is trying to “Recreate the hatred of their allies elsewhere in Europe where thousands have massed, targeting the Muslim community.”

Pegida UK has staged other events, albeit with mixed success.

In February this year, the group held its first ever UK march in Newcastle, where they were confronted by a counter-demonstration organized by a coalition of trade unionists and anti-fascists, including Newcastle Stop the War and the University and College Union (UCU).

Newcastle resident David Kelly, 33, joined the counter-protest.

We don’t want these people in our city. They don’t belong here. We are a friendly, tolerant and welcoming place,” he told the Newcastle Chronicle.

Speaking at that event, Pegida’s keynote speaker Paul Weston outlined the political aims of the movement to an audience comprised mostly of white middle-aged men holding Union Flags.

READ MORE: Pegida UK promoter has ties with far right, wants to ‘ban Islam’

We are here because nobody else who should be talking about the problems in this country is talking about them.

Although there are moderate Muslims in the country, Islam is not a religion of peace.

The counter-demo, which organizers claim numbered up to 3,000, was addressed by left-wing MP George Galloway, Newcastle United footballer Moussa Sissoko, and local Labour MP Chi Onwurah.