When Legida hits close to home

For over a year now, a far-right political group originating in nearby Dresden have been organizing protests against immigration, Islam, and other policies that, in their view, cause detriment to the German people. The group is called PEGIDA (Patriotische Europäer gegen die Islamisierung des Abendlandes, or “Patriotic Europeans against the Islamisation of the West”). Though they started as a small group, their numbers steadily increased, at one point boasting over 20,000 participants at their weekly protests.

The protests spread beyond Dresden to neighboring cities in eastern Germany, including here in Leipzig. Starting even before the immigration crisis became a popular topic of conversation, the Leipzig PEGIDA branch, LEGIDA, was shutting down the city center every Monday night for protests. More recently, the protests have slowed to only the first Monday of every month. Luckily, most of the demonstrations have been relatively calm, with only a few arrests. However, there have been issues in the past with rioting and stone throwing both with this group and the counter-protests against them.

We have mostly been able to avoid the demonstrations by staying away from the city center on demonstration days, since we live 10 minutes away by foot. However, this past week’s demonstrations hit a bit too close to home for comfort. As we were commuting home, we saw hundreds of police cars gathered around neighboring Westplatz in preparation for the demonstrations. After we sat down to dinner, Craig glanced out our back windows and noticed some commotion. In the enclosed courtyard behind our apartment, there were dozens of German policemen in SWAT outfits corralling Legida protesters.

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Legida protesters surrounded by Leipzig police in SWAT gear

While I was happy to see that the Leipzig police were prepared for the demonstrations and kept the protesters under control, it’s a scary thought that these protesters were right outside our window, especially knowing the damage they are capable of. It’s also upsetting to see these bigots shutting down large parts of the city and commandeering city resources on a regular basis. Thankfully the group is now only gathering once a month, which I’m sure relieves a large burden from the citizens and the city, but personally I’ll be happier and feel much safer when the number of monthly protests reaches zero.


Have the Legida protests interrupted your life in Leipzig? Share in the comments. 

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That time my husband and I became football hooligans at the RB Leipzig game!

This past weekend Craig and I attended our first professional sporting event in Leipzig – a soccer (football) game! We watched the Leipzig Red Bulls (sponsored by Red Bull) take on the Duisburg Zebras!

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This was my first time ever attending a soccer game, and I didn’t know what to expect. Unlike many sporting events I’ve attended, the crowds were roaring the WHOLE time! Not a moment was silent as the Leipzig cheering section waved their flags, sang their songs, and performed coordinated crowd dances. Honestly, watching the cheers was just as entertaining, if not more entertaining, than the game itself.

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It’s SPARGEL season!

Soon after I arrived to Leipzig I began to notice something mysterious popping up in the markets and the locals going absolutely crazy over it. Spargel! Everywhere I would look – Spargel!

What is it? You’ve probably seen it before. It’s the thick white asparagus that you find in the supermarkets in America and think to yourself, “who buys this overpriced specialty vegetable?” Answer: the Germans.

Mounded as high as you can see, spargel is everywhere:

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Spargel on display

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