Last weekend, some 1,700 Germans turned out for a PEGIDA rally in Cologne to protest the wave of sexual assaults that unfolded in the city on New Year’s Eve in the town center.
PEGIDA nearly faded into obscurity early last year when then-leader Lutz Bachmann posted a picture of himself dressed as Hitler on Facebook with the caption “He’s Back”, but thanks to the 1.1 million Mid-East asylum seekers that poured across Germany’s borders in 2015, the anti-immigrant group has seen something of a resurgence over the past six or so months.
While the group claims to be looking out for the interests of the German people, some draw disturbing parallels between PEGIDA and a dangerous far-right ideology linked to extreme nationalism.
Unsurprisingly, movements like PEGIDA aren’t confined to Germany. In Finland the streets are now patrolled by the The “Soldiers of Odin,” a kind of vigilante justice brigade with political overtones and the trappings of a biker gang. The men don black bomber jackets adorned with the Finnish flag and a symbol of a Viking and say they are interested in helping police keep native Finns safe. Here's one of the group's members:
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