BERLIN (AP) — Thousands of people attended a protest against racism and discrimination in the German city of Dresden on Saturday, a week ahead of two state elections in the country’s east in which the far-right Alternative for Germany party is expected to make gains.
Saturday’s “Indivisible” demonstration in Dresden — the capital of Saxony, one of the states that holds elections on Sept. 1 — follows a protest under the same title in Berlin in October. Organizers said the Berlin protest drew more than 240,000 people.
News agency dpa reported that up to 20,000 people gathered for the beginning of Saturday’s protest, and organizers later said it drew at least 35,000. Those who showed up included Vice Chancellor Olaf Scholz, a leading figure in Germany’s center-left Social Democrats, who said “there is a great willingness to show that we must do something” and stand up for democracy.
Saxony has for years been a stronghold of Alternative for Germany, and the anti-migration group PEGIDA — short for Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West — rose to prominence with weekly protests in Dresden.
Saturday’s organizers said that “Dresden is much, much more than PEGIDA.”
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