Cologne Cathedral to Turn Out Lights in Protest at Anti-Muslim March
One of Germany’s most famous landmarks, Cologne Cathedral, will be plunged into darkness on Monday evening in protest at a march by a growing grass-roots anti-Muslim movement through the western German city, cathedral authorities said.
The rise of the group, Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West (PEGIDA), has shaken Germany’s political establishment, prompting Chancellor Angela Merkel to say in her New Year address that its leaders were racists full of hatred and citizens should beware being used.
PEGIDA’s last weekly rally in the eastern city of Dresden attracted some 17,000 people, and the movement plans further marches in other cities, including through the center of Cologne on Monday night with a rally by the cathedral.
“PEGIDA is made up of an astonishingly broad mix of people, ranging from those in the middle of society to racists and the extreme right-wing,” Cathedral Dean Norbert Feldhoff told Reuters.
“By switching off the floodlighting we want to make those on the march stop and think. It is a challenge: consider who you are marching alongside.”
Dresden’s famous Semperoper opera house also extinguished its lights in protest during the last PEGIDA march in the city.