Published On: Sat, Feb 28th, 2015 on 1:58 pm

Anti-Pegida march in Newcastle draws in support from Yorkshire

Groups of people from West Yorkshire travelled to Newcastle to voice opposition to the far-right group Pegida as it campaigned against a perceived “Islamisation” of the West.

Pegida Rally Newcastle

Demonstrators at the anti-Pegida rally.

Pegida (Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West) marched through Newcastle today, being met with a counter-demonstration under the banner Newcastle Unites.

Anti-Pegida marchers, consisting of organisations, unions, religious groups, and politicians across all parties, gathered to protest against the far-right group.

Residents from West Yorkshire also went to attend the counter-protest, including George Galloway MP for Bradford West.

“A historic and proud day for Newcastle United”

Yas Qureshi, who travelled from Bradford, said: “Today was a historic and proud day for Newcastle United demonstrators and the fight against racist fascists.

“The Pegida group only managed a dismal showing whereas over 3,000 people of all races and religions turned up in a huge show of solidarity with the Muslim community.”

George Galloway MP branded Pegida as “right-wing nutters”.

Pegida Rally Newcastle

George Galloway MP addresses the crowd.

He said: “It is absolutely extraordinary that a German organisation sets up in the UK – it’s not as if there is a lack of right-wing nutter organisations here. They have got to be opposed, wherever they are.”

Pegida said it chose to carry out its first UK demonstration in Newcastle because it claimed that it already had a following there.

The far-right group, which began as a Facebook page, has held weekly marches in the east German city of Dresden since October and one rally in January attracted a record 25,000 attendees.

The movement was founded by 42-year-old Lutz Bachmann, who has a criminal record for burglaries, drunk-driving, and drug-dealing.

He stepped down as leader of the group when a picture emerged of him apparently posing as Adolf Hitler but was later re-instated.

Before the rally took place, Pegida said its rally was to be a peaceful one.

Two arrests were made due to scuffles and a flag used by the allegedly neo-Nazi and fascist Greek political party Golden Dawn was also spotted during the Pegida side of the protest.

Images: Yorkshire Standard.

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