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NRC Handelsblad - Netherlands | Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Pegida making German parties nervous

Thousands of people heeded the calls of the Pegida movement and demonstrated against the supposed "Islamisation of the Occident" in several German cities on Monday. The largest march took place in Dresden, with some 18,000 participants. The Pegida debate highlights the confusion of the established parties, the liberal daily NRC Handelsblad comments: "Merkel's harsh words [in her New Year's address] surprised friends and foes alike and triggered a political debate. The ensuing declarations of praise or rejection reveal a deep rift between - and within - the parties. People are confused and unsure how to deal with the mass protests. ... Most of the demonstrators are people who have turned their backs on the established parties. For them, these parties consist of members of a 'self-appointed elite' that is blind to the interests of the average citizen. According to political analysts this is the future electorate of the [eurosceptic] AfD party, and that is making the other parties nervous."

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