Germany: Police ban assembly in Dresden today due to threat of terrorism
Yesterday police in Germany banned all outdoor assemblies planned for today in Dresden due to the threat of a terrorist attack. Deutsche Presse-Agentur reports that Monday's demonstration by the Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West (Pegida) had already been canceled by the movement itself because Islamists had reportedly threatened to assassinate Lutz Bachmann, the organizer of the marches that have been taking place weekly there since mid-October.
According to police information, the Islamist extremists had been ordered to blend in with demonstrators so "they could murder a person from the organizational team". A Twitter post called the Pegida demonstrations "hostile to Islam".
The weekly Der Spiegel reported that intelligence services abroad had warned Germany on Friday that Islamist radicals were discussing attacks on the Pegida movement's marches. "We consider it irresponsible to expose our sympathizers and our city to an incalculable risk," Pegida representatives explained today when asked why they had canceled the Dresden march.
The Dresden for All movement, which convenes protest marches against Pegida and which had also announced an assembly "for an open city" today, said they were aware of the police ban. "The police must naturally keep an eye on security," said their spokesperson Eric Hattke.
Last Monday police estimate that as many as 25 000 people gathered in Dresden for the Pegida demonstration against the alleged "Islamization" of Germany and to demand tougher laws on granting asylum. The body of a dead refugee was then found on Tuesday morning at a local housing estate.
Police believe the case is one of murder. The "anti-Islamization" movement is now calling on its supporters to demonstrate in Munich.
"Friends, we would like to request that you all come to our other outing in Munich," a representative of Bagida, the Bavarian branch of Pegida, announced. "Let's make ourselves heard."
Pegida is also planning a march for today in the Bavarian town of Würzburg. The movement was condemned at the start of this month by 50 representatives of German political and social life.
Assemblies against intolerance and xenophobia have also been held in the country. In Lubeck and Mannheim a total of about 16 500 people turned out on Saturday to support an open society and express solidarity with refugees living in Germany.
Deutsche Presse-Agentur reports that those numbers exceeded organizers' expectations. Other such actions have been announced for today.
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