Almost one year ago the Munich branch of the racist PEGIDA movement – at that time called BAGIDA – marched for the first time.
From the first rallies on, neo-nazis and hooligans were amongst the crowd and repeatedly threatened counter-nazi activists and journalists. One year of PEGIDA is a look back on weekly racists marches through Munich with one guiding thread:
Local neo-nazis were always amongst the PEGIDA crowd and after early attempts by the -then- BAGIDA organization-board to dissociate from thus, by now they are fully integrated and warmly welcomed at PEGIDA Munich.
With leader Heinz Meyer being suspect in an investigation by the federal attorney’s office for participating in a terror group, PEGIDA Munich e.V. is drifting more and more in the direction of openly displaying their far right beliefs.
A Look Back
The numbers of PEGIDA during the past year were almost constant. In the beginning the racist movement was able to mobilize approximately up to 1500 people. Hooligans and neo-nazis from all over Bavaria travelled to Munich almost a year ago to join the rally under the cover to “criticize Islam”. Back then the movement was mostly led by Michael Stürzenberger – known for standing in the city center of Munich day by day, shouting at people and preaching hatred against islam. After a little while PEGIDA split up and soon reached numbers varying from 150 to 200 on a weekly basis. Only for special events the movement was able to mobilize bigger masses – such as the visit of Lutz Bachmann or the anniversary yesterday.
The usually low numbers have to be taken seriously though. At neo-nazi rallies that were formerly reserved for openly displaying facists, suddenly activists from the “anti-islam” party Die Freiheit and other members of PEGIDA showed up. Under the cover of fighting against -so called- islamization they joined some of the most militant neo-nazi groups in the region.
Left picture: Militant neon-nazi rally in Wunsiedel – amongst the nazi crowd a Munich tram driver that took pictures for PEGIDA in the beginning
Right picture: Long known Die Freiheit activist Maria W. joining a rally against arriving refugees by the neo-nazi party Die Rechte at Munich central station.
Police loving PEGIDA marshalls?
A phenomenon spotted more often during recent weeks: PEGIDA marshalls behave as if police officers on site were their colleagues.
A question arousing is: Is this political tactic to achieve that e.g. press officials are held out, is this admiration for the duty of being a police officer or is this just an exaggerated opinion of oneself?
Observations of the behavior of Stefan S. – PEGIDA marshall, security force in Munich bars and affiliated with motorcycle gangs: During the last months Stefan S. that seems to be leading the PEGIDA marshal team showed a constant behaviour. Arriving at PEGIDA he shook hands with police forces on site often talked to them and – more then once- tried to command them.
The question is – do police forces know that they are talking to an affiliate of the United Tribuns motorcycle gang ? At least on his Facebook profile Stefan S. poses with members of the gang. Also Stefan S. has publicly posted pictures stating: “A.C.A.B” – commonly known abbreviation for “All Cops are Bastards”.
As written above the question arouses what his aims are through this specific conduct. Yesterday he and colleagues tried to hold back journalists once again and police officers did not react after being asked for help on site. Only the press official of the Munich police department stepped in and prevented a further escalation by Rolf H. and the PEGIDA marshall team.
Screenshots taken from Stefan S. public Facebook profile showing his affiliation with the United Tribuns, postings showing his hatred on policeand pictures of the PEGIDA marshall having no fear of contact with hooligans that arrive with convicted neo-nazi terrorists:
Counter protest forces PEGIDA on shortened route
On the PEGIDA anniversary approximately 3500 counter protestors gathered to show their mischief with the racist movement. An antifacist demonstration was held from Sendlinger Tor – where the PEGIDA movement gathered for the first time one year ago – to the historically charged Odeonsplatz. At least 400 people took part in the demonstration that joined forces under applause with counter protestors already standing at the PEGIDA rally site. Shortly before PEGIDA wanted to start marching , Munich citizen’s showed civil unrest and sat down on the route to block the street.
Even though police announced on Facebook to go with full force against any disturbance of the PEGIDA demonstration, PEGIDA was guided on a alternative, way shorter route. Reports on Twitter state, that after PEGIDA was guided on an alternative route. Counter-nazi activists were halted on site by the Munich Police Departement. According to reports on Twitter force was used against them as people tried to remove themselves .
Neo-nazi party functionaries amongst PEGIDA Munich on it’s anniversary
As of today PEGIDA wants to rally daily against the city council of Munich for their politics and against the chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel. The movement wants to gather in the Munich city center to hold three hour rallies. This clearly displays new tendencies. Heinz Meyer stated in his talk at PEGIDA yesterday that he finds it absolutely reasonable if people would decide to form a militia to show force against the government of Germany. On the floor after the PEGIDA rally “Rapefugees not Welcome”stickers were spotted. The public prosecution department of Leipzig recently opened investigations against Lutz Bachmann for wearing a shirt with this exact motive.
— 24mmjournalism (@24mmjournalism) 11. Januar 2016
All these tendencies show that PEGIDA Munich members are becoming more and more radical and now seem to want to take more action then just marching on a weekly basis.
Is the foundation of a PEGIDA party the next step?