Head of Germany’s Oposition quits after a photo showing him apparently posing as Hitler
The head of Germany’s “anti-Islamisation” movement has quit after a photo showing him apparently posing as Hitler was published in newspapers.
Lutz Bachmann is also being investigated by prosecutors over disparaging comments about refugees attributed to him by German newspapers.
He stepped down as thousands of people gathered in the eastern city of Leipzig for the Pegida movement’s latest rally.
Mr Bachmann has apologised for his “ill-considered” remarks.
A Pegida spokeswoman sought to play down the “Hitler” photo as a “joke”.
But the German government condemned it. Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel told Bild: “Anyone in politics who poses as Hitler is either a total idiot or a Nazi. Reasonable people do not follow idiots, and decent people don’t follow Nazis.”
Pegida has focused on Leipzig after police banned a protest by the movement in Dresden on Monday over reports of an assassination plot against the movement’s leaders.
The movement has forced its way on to the political agenda in Germany with rallies that have attracted tens of thousands of people.
What is Pegida?
- Founded in Dresden by Lutz Bachmann in October 2014
- Acronym for Patriotische Europaer gegen die Islamisierung des Abendlandes (Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West)
- Umbrella group for German right wing, attracting support from mainstream conservatives to neo-Nazi factions and football hooligans
- Holds street protests against what it sees as a dangerous rise in the influence of Islam over European countries
- Claims not to be racist or xenophobic
- 19-point manifesto says the movement opposes extremism and calls for protection of Germany’s Judeo-Christian culture