Speed Reads

foreign affairs

Germans gather for large pro- and anti-immigration rallies

With 200,000 asylum seekers having entered Germany within the past year, it's a hot topic in the country, and protests both in favor of and against immigration were held in Dresden and Berlin on Monday.

In Dresden, anti-immigrant marchers were brought together by a "murky movement" known by the acronym Pegida (Patriotic Europeans Against Islamization of the West), The New York Times reports. The demonstrators said they were only against "economic refugees" who "abuse the system." Chancellor Angela Merkel called for Germans to stay away from such marches, saying they were filled with people who had "prejudice, coldness, and even hatred in their hearts."

In Berlin, several hundred people gathered to show their support for immigrants, especially those from war-torn regions of the Middle East and Africa. Attendee Martin Küper told the Times he was "disgusted" by his fellow Germans who were protesting against people who "had already been threatened with death and deportation in their home countries."