February 4, 2015
The first Austrian Pegida march was held on the streets of Vienna this week.
It seems that Hitler-photo-gate has actually caused the German-born anti-immigration movement to gain support.
Approximately 250 people marched in the Austrian capital on Monday, carrying the country’s national flags and chanting: “We are the people!” They were met by a roughly equal number of counter-demonstrators, who shouted: “Down with PEGIDA.”
The faceoff between the sides was avoided with a heavy police presence. One thousand two hundred officers had been deployed to maintain public order in Vienna. There were no incidents or arrests during the rally, an Austrian police spokesman told Reuters.
Before the protest, PEGIDA, which stands for Patriot Europeans Against the Islamization of the Occident, wrote on its Facebook page that “everyone is welcome – no matter which party, movement, organization or nationality – everyone who is against radical Islamism and Shariah law and who wants to make a peaceful statement.”
A spokesman for the Austrian PEGIDA offshoot, Georg Immanuel Nagel, told Die Presse newspaper that the time has come to end the “appeasement policy” for Muslims in the country. He believes that Austria should introduce a legislation banning “Islamism” so that those promoting Shariah law could face punishment in the same way the glorifiers of Nazism do.
Around half a million Muslims currently reside in Austria, which has a population of 8.5 million mostly of Roman Catholic faith.