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Pegida Anti-Islam March In Germany Only Draws 2,000 Hopefully Signalling Their Demise

11/02/2015 12:10 GMT | Updated 11/02/2015 12:59 GMT

Only a few weeks ago, Germany's anti-Islam movement was drawing tens of thousands of supporters to rallies every week with chilling echoes of a time the country would rather not relive.

Last month 18,000 people marched in Dresden in support of the Pegida (Patriotic Europeans against the Islamisation of the West) movement, many brandishing Christian crosses in the colour of the German flag.

Such was the revulsion at such the demonstration that monuments across Germany turned off their lights in protest.

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The poorly attended march in Dresden

Since then things have taken a dramatic turn and this week's march only attracted around 2,000 far-right protestors.

Pegida's cause was not helped by a photo of founder Lutz Bachmann styled as Adolf Hitler in a Facebook post where he described immigrants as "cattle", "scumbags" and "trash".

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Pegida leader Lutz Bachmann posing as Hitler. (Photo: h/t The Guardian)

Bachmann claimed the photo was taken to promote a satirical book but would not comment on the remarks that accompanied it.

He was forced to step down as leader shortly after.

Around the same time the group were forced to cancel another march after an alleged terrorist threat against one of its leaders.

Police claimed individuals were planning to mingle with the crowds and kill one of the organisers.

Another reason quoted for the sudden demise of the group is infighting within Pegida's leadership. They have struggled to temper their more extreme elements who voice far-right anti-Muslim views.

One of the leaders, Kathrin Oertel, resigned after denying the group were targeting Islam itself but was in fact just trying to ensure a more successful assimilation of immigrants.

But the street-level momentum behind the group centered around the perceived Islamisation of Germany and Europe and took on a vitriolic voice all of its own.

Attempts to spread the marches to other cities have fallen completely flat with incredibly low turnout. Police have arrested demonstrators claiming the marches were almost entirely made up of neo-Nazis.

Pegida march in Dresden