The German PEGIDA (Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the Occident) movement is using the outrage following the Charlie Hebdo attacks to further its cause. It was founded in October 2014 in Dresden, Germany and its Facebook page now has over 140,000 likes. It is difficult to ascertain the group’s objectives. The German news service Deutsche Welle says their banners are vague and carry slogans such as: “For the preservation of our culture”; “Against religious fanaticism”; “Against religious wars on German soil.”
Last week in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attack, a Swiss PEGIDA was launched. According to their Facebook page, which had around 4,000 likes on 14 January 2015, a march is planned on 16 February 2015 with guest speakers from Germany, The Netherlands, Austria and Switzerland.
This has sparked a counter movement called NO PEGIDA Schweiz, which had over 8,000 likes on its Facebook page on 14 January 2015 and carries the slogan “No to xenophobia in Switzerland” in Switzerland’s four national languages. Many followers also display a graphic proclaiming that 1% of Switzerland says no.
On Facebook at least the Swiss NO PEGIDA movement has more support than Swiss PEGIDA.