In Germany, Anti-Islam Group Keeps Members From Speaking To The Press

Millions of people have taken to the streets of France and other European countries in support of freedom of the press and the peaceful coexistence of religions -- two cornerstones of democracy. The staff of satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo even risked their lives for the former, with four prominent cartoonists murdered last week in one of the deadliest terrorist attacks on French soil in decades.

But how has one German-based anti-Islam group reacted to the tragedy? Having seen an influx of supporters in the wake of the attack, the Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West (PEGIDA) seems to not be particularly enthused about media freedom.

Thousands of people participated Monday in an anti-Islam march in Dresden, Germany, PEGIDA's home base. The campaign had been heavily criticized by politicians beforehand. Some protesters wore black ribbons in support of the victims of the attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices.

In Leipzig, Germany, where the demonstrators refer to themselves as LEGIDA, a reported 4,800 took part in the rally.

Contact between PEGIDA supporters and the media seem to raise a red flag for the group's leadership, who have vilified major media outlets, saying they are controlled by the ruling class.

So what happens when someone decides to speak out? HuffPost Germany reporter Sebastian Christ captured one instance on camera.

The video shows a TV crew interviewing two protesters. Two hooded people then emerge from the crowd and pull the interviewees away from the camera team and reporter.

German demonstrators opposing PEGIDA and promoting religious harmony have outnumbered the anti-Islam group by far: 30,000 reportedly protested against PEGIDA in Leipzig, 7,000 in Dresden and 20,000 in Munich.

This post originally appeared on HuffPost Germany and was translated into English.

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