Pegida, an anti-Islamic movement that had grown in Germany, had opened a new branch in Spain following the previous week’s Islamist attack on Charlie Hebdo offices. The Spanish branch was launched on January 8, a day after the attack.
Three Islamist gunmen, killed by attacks by French police, had killed 12 people in Charlie Hebdo. Most of them were France’s well-loved cartoonists and its well-known editor.
Pegida, or “Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the Occident”, will have its Spanish branch create its first demonstration outside Madrid’s main mosque. However, it could be called off as government authorities refused to grant them permission, suggesting they perform the demonstration at a different location.
Pegida began in Germany with just 500 people. The recent Islamic attacks had it see increasing numbers in members. However, German Chancellor Angela Merkel had condemned the group during the new year. She said the group has “prejudice, coldness, even hatred in their hearts”.
Counter-demonstrations encouraging religious and racial tolerance directed their efforts against stopping Pegida’s extreme message.
Meanwhile, spin-off groups in Austria, Switzerland and Scandinavia have been announced.
Middle east media had also commented on Charlie Hebdo’s new magazine cover, which showed its resilience showing a crying Mohammed holding a sign “All is forgiven.”