World

Protests planned in 4 German cities against increasingly large anti-Islam rallies

  • Demonstrators stand in front of a banner with a  crossed-out swastika to protest against a planned rally of so-called 'Berlin Patriots against the Islamization of the West'  (BAERGIDA) in Berlin, Monday, Jan. 5, 2015.  Thousands of Germans were expected to demonstrate in four cities Monday night as opposition increases to weekly rallies in Dresden against the perceived “Islamization of the West,” which have attracted growing numbers of supporters. Organizers of the demonstrations in Berlin, Stuttgart, Cologne and Dresden said they were rallying against racism and xenophobia to instead promote a message of tolerance.  (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

    Demonstrators stand in front of a banner with a crossed-out swastika to protest against a planned rally of so-called 'Berlin Patriots against the Islamization of the West' (BAERGIDA) in Berlin, Monday, Jan. 5, 2015. Thousands of Germans were expected to demonstrate in four cities Monday night as opposition increases to weekly rallies in Dresden against the perceived “Islamization of the West,” which have attracted growing numbers of supporters. Organizers of the demonstrations in Berlin, Stuttgart, Cologne and Dresden said they were rallying against racism and xenophobia to instead promote a message of tolerance. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)  (The Associated Press)

  • Demonstrators stand in front of a banner of German Social Democratic party (SPD) with a  crossed-out swastika and the slogan 'Berlin against Nazis' to protest against a planned rally of  the so-called 'Berlin Patriots against the Islamization of the West' (BAERGIDA) in Berlin, Monday, Jan. 5, 2015. Thousands of Germans were expected to demonstrate in four cities Monday night as opposition increases to weekly rallies in Dresden against the perceived “Islamization of the West,” which have attracted growing numbers of supporters. Organizers of thedemonstrations in Berlin, Stuttgart, Cologne and Dresden said they were rallying against racism and xenophobia to instead promote a message of tolerance.  (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

    Demonstrators stand in front of a banner of German Social Democratic party (SPD) with a crossed-out swastika and the slogan 'Berlin against Nazis' to protest against a planned rally of the so-called 'Berlin Patriots against the Islamization of the West' (BAERGIDA) in Berlin, Monday, Jan. 5, 2015. Thousands of Germans were expected to demonstrate in four cities Monday night as opposition increases to weekly rallies in Dresden against the perceived “Islamization of the West,” which have attracted growing numbers of supporters. Organizers of thedemonstrations in Berlin, Stuttgart, Cologne and Dresden said they were rallying against racism and xenophobia to instead promote a message of tolerance. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)  (The Associated Press)

  • Activists of Amnesty International with a banner  protest against a planned rally of so-called 'Berlin Patriots against the Islamization of the West' (BAERGIDA) in Berlin, Monday, Jan. 5, 2015. The banner reads: ' Shelter  Refugees, Stop Rassism'.  Thousands of Germans were expected to demonstrate in four cities Monday night as opposition increases to weekly rallies in Dresden against the perceived “Islamization of the West,” which have attracted growing numbers of supporters. Organizers of thedemonstrations in Berlin, Stuttgart, Cologne and Dresden said they were rallying against racism and xenophobia to instead promote a message of tolerance. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

    Activists of Amnesty International with a banner protest against a planned rally of so-called 'Berlin Patriots against the Islamization of the West' (BAERGIDA) in Berlin, Monday, Jan. 5, 2015. The banner reads: ' Shelter Refugees, Stop Rassism'. Thousands of Germans were expected to demonstrate in four cities Monday night as opposition increases to weekly rallies in Dresden against the perceived “Islamization of the West,” which have attracted growing numbers of supporters. Organizers of thedemonstrations in Berlin, Stuttgart, Cologne and Dresden said they were rallying against racism and xenophobia to instead promote a message of tolerance. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)  (The Associated Press)

Thousands of Germans are expected to demonstrate in four cities against weekly anti-Islam rallies that have attracted growing numbers of supporters.

They are opposing a group calling itself Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West, or PEGIDA, which planned another rally Monday night in the eastern city of Dresden.

The crowds at PEGIDA's demonstrations have swelled from a few hundred in October to 17,500 in December, and organizers said similar numbers are expected again. A counter-demonstration was also planned in Dresden.

In Cologne, where 500 PEGIDA sympathizers were to rally, the leaders of the city's cathedral said they will turn off its exterior lighting to leave the rally in the dark. Two thousand counter-protesters are also expected.

Another 10,000 anti-PEGIDA protesters are expected in Berlin, and 5,000 in Stuttgart.