Pegida demo in gorlitzer park: five against two hundred

Five Pegida people from Munich demonstrate under police protection in Gorlitzer Park. In Kreuzberg, of course, this does not go unchallenged.

140 police officers protected the five Pegida supporters on Friday Photo: Moritz Wetter

Whoever plans a right-wing extremist demo in the middle of Kreuzberg expects headwind. Pegida Munich did it perhaps for this very reason: on Friday at 1 p.m., the group held a rally in Gorlitzer Park.

Already at 10 o’clock in the morning, the organizers* set up posters. The largest one read: "Where the rule of law capitulates, it deals quite uninhibitedly", accompanied by a picture of Gorlitzer Park. The police cordoned off a large area. Pegida registered five participants for the rally, from Friday 10 am to Saturday 9 am. Although the mobilization for the event is said to have been weak, 140 police officers are on standby – also because of the expected counter-demonstration.

Shortly before 12 o’clock, passers-by stop in front of the barrier, while behind it, construction continues, including several loudspeakers and a television. Slowly, more and more counter-demonstrators gather. Most of them have learned about the Pegida event via social media.

One counter-demonstrator heard about it by chance in the bicycle store. "I’m not happy that they’re allowed to do this here," he says. Another wonders, "I don’t know if they’re making friends here in Berlin with the Bavarian flag."

Only one man in a trench coat

At 1 p.m., the TV goes on behind the barrier, and a choir sings Ode to Joy from the loudspeakers. Images of landscapes and people appear on the screen.

Apart from a man in a trench coat who is watching the film from close up, there is no one to be seen. The other four have retreated into a van. The counter-demonstration is all the louder now. By now there are 200 people. They drown out the ode with whistles and shouts of "Get out of here".

Regardless of the action, Interior Senator Andreas Geisel (SPD) announced on Friday that he would increase the pressure of prosecution on the dealer scene. "We will approach there once again with intensified police work and establish the identities of the dealers in order to initiate their deportation," Geisel said. "What is happening in Gorlitzer Park is not something we can simply accept." However, he said, the deportations are not an easy undertaking.

Another demo by Munich’s far-right is scheduled for 5 p.m. Saturday on Rigaerstrasse in Friedrichshain. "Whether it will take place is the other question," said a spokeswoman for Berlin police.