Anti-Islam group called extremist by German state intel

BERLIN (AP) — A German state intelligence service on Friday classified the anti-immigration group PEGIDA as a “proven extremist movement,” the German news agency dpa reported.

The Saxony intelligence agency said it had enough evidence showing that PEGIDA, which stands for Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West, had turned into an anti-constitutional movement in recent years.

The classification means that security authorities are allowed monitor the activities and members of the group.

PEGIDA has staged weekly anti-immigrant and anti-Islam protests in the eastern city of Dresden, the capital of Saxony, but also in other cities across Germany, since 2014. At the height of its popularity it drew tens of thousands for weekly rallies but over the years it lost its appeal to the masses.

The intelligence service said the group gives far-right extremists a public vehicle to spread their anti-democratic propaganda to the center of society which “in the long run is a serious threat for our liberal-democratic social order,” dpa reported.

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