UPDATE 1-Thousands protest against march of UK branch of German anti-Islam PEGIDA
Feb 28 (Reuters) – Around 2,000 people
protested on Saturday in Newcastle, northeast England, against a
march held by the British branch of Germany’s anti-Islam group
PEGIDA which drew up to 400 people, a Reuters witness said.
Northumbria police, which kept the two protests apart, said
five people were arrested for alleged offences from assault to
being drunk and disorderly, but that largely both demonstrations
passed without any problems.
The German organisation ‘Patriotic Europeans Against the
Islamisation of the West’ (PEGIDA), has for months been warning
that Germany was being overrun by Muslims and held marches
mostly in the city of Dresden.
It has tried to spread to other cities and countries with
limited success. Although in Britain the local branch has had
little exposure in the national media, the Facebook page of
PEGIDA United Kingdom shows it has had over 17,000 “likes”.
Fears that anti-Islam sentiment is growing in Britain have
intensified as violence by Islamist militants in the Middle East
dominate the headlines and after actual and threatened attacks
Some Islamic groups have criticised the British authorities’
response to the threat from militants, saying it has demonised
Britain’s 2.7 million Muslims.
(Reporting by Peter Nicholls; Writing by Neil Maidment; Editing
by Raissa Kasolowsky and Stephen Powell)