Thousands protest against march of UK branch of German anti-Islam group Pegida

More than 2,000 people protested on Saturday in Newcastle, northeast England, against a march held by the British branch of Germany's anti-Islam group Pegida which drew around 400 people, a Reuters witness said. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
More than 2,000 people protested on Saturday in Newcastle, northeast England, against a march held by the British branch of Germany's anti-Islam group Pegida which drew around 400 people, a Reuters witness said. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

NEWCASTLE (Reuters) - More than 2,000 people protested on Saturday in Newcastle, northeast England, against a march held by the British branch of Germany's anti-Islam group Pegida which drew around 400 people, a Reuters witness said.

The German organisation 'Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West' (Pegida), has for months been warning that Germany was being overrun by Muslims and held marches mostly in the city of Dresden.

It has tried to spread to other cities and countries with limited success. Although in Britain the local branch has had little exposure in the national media, the Facebook page of Pegida United Kingdom shows it has had over 17,000 "likes".

The Reuters photographer on the scene said police were in strong attendance for the protests, which were kept apart and passed off peacefully.

Fears that anti-Islam sentiment is growing in Britain have intensified as violence by Islamist militants in the Middle East dominate the headlines and after actual and threatened attacks in Europe.

Some Islamic groups have criticised the British authorities'response to the threat from militants, saying it has demonised Britain's 2.7 million Muslims.