Germany has turned off the lights at some of its most famous monuments.
It's part of a counterdemonstration against recent marches nationwide by a group protesting what its supporters see as the "Islamization of Europe."
Here's the background: A group calling itself PEGIDA — Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West — has protested since October against Germany's asylum and immigration policies, which it views as lax. Germany takes in more refugees and asylum-seekers than other European Union countries.
PEGIDA's views aren't in the political fringe. One German journalist told the BBC that many of its supporters felt "hard done-by" by the media and politicians. And a recent poll in Stern magazine showed 1 in 8 Germans would join an anti-Islam march.
PEGIDA says it is not racist or xenophobic, says it opposes extremism and calls for the preservation of the country's Judeo-Christian culture. One demonstration organized by the group in Dresden before Christmas drew 17,500 people; another one on Monday in the same city attracted 18,000 people.
But attempts to replicate that turnout elsewhere have been met with counterprotests.
Counterdemonstrations that drew thousands of people were held in Berlin, Cologne, Dresden and Stuttgart. Efforts by PEGIDA supporters to march in Berlin on Monday were thwarted by counterdemonstrators who blocked their way. About 80 German politicians, celebrities and athletes signed a petition — headlined "No to PEGIDA" — in the newspaper Bild. They include former Chancellors Helmut Schmidt and Gerhard Schroeder, as well as Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Family Minister Manuela Schwesig.
And in her New Year's Day speech, Chancellor Angela Merkel called on her fellow Germans to be wary of groups such as PEGIDA.
"Do not follow people who organize these, for their hearts are cold and often full of prejudice, and even hate," Merkel said.INSTEAD OF ATTACKING PEGIDA - MORE HARSHLY THAN THEY EVER ATTACK ISLAMISTS, I MIGHT ADD - POLITICIANS FROM ALL PARTIES SHOULD BE MARCHING WITH THEM.
PEGIDA SHOULD BE A NON-PARTISAN AND UNIVERSAL MOVEMENT FOR ALL WHO LOVE LIBERTY,
AND ALL WHO WANT THE WEST TO REMAIN A JUDEO-CHRISTIAN CIVILIZATION AND NOT DESCEND INTO ISLAMIST MADNESS (LIKE IRAN AND IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN AND LIBYA AND SYRIA AND TURKEY).
APPEASERS IN EUROPE WHO TURN OUT THE LIGHTS TO ATTACK PEGIDA ARE ATTACKING THE WRONG TARGET.
THEY ARE SUICIDAL.
ISLAM WILL TURN OUT THE LIGHTS OF THE WEST IF THE APPEASING POLITICIANS REMAIN APPEASERS.
APPEASEMENT ALWAYS JUST ENCOURAGES THE BULLIES TO MAKE MORE AND WORSER ATTACKS.
THE HEBDO ATTACK PROVES THIS ONCE AGAIN.
THE HEBDO ATTACK IS EUROPE'S LAST CHANCE TO RESPOND POLITICALLY.
IF THE POLITICIANS AND BUREAUCRATS AND CHRISTIAN PRIESTS/CHURCHES FAIL TO DEFEND THE WEST, THEN THE PEOPLE WILL - AS VIGILANTES.
AND SOONER THAN ANYONE THINKS...