|Cologne cathedral lights were switched off |
as part of a protest against the anti-Islam rallies
There have been weekly protests by the Patriotic Europeans against the Islamisation of the West (Pegida) since October.
|Dresdan Pegida rally - 18,000 supporters|
But counter demonstrations have sprung up and the group has been condemned by senior German politicians.
Thousands of people are marching in Berlin, Cologne, Dresden and Stuttgart.
In Berlin, police said that some 5,000 counter-demonstrators blocked hundreds of Pegida supporters from marching along their planned route.
A total of 22,000 anti-Pegida demonstrators rallied in Stuttgart, Muenster and Hamburg, according to the DPS news agency.
But in Dresden, police said that 18,000 people turned up for just one anti-immigration rally. The counter-demonstration attracted 3,000 people.
|A supporter of the Pegida movement holds a flag in a demonstration on Jan. 5, 2015|
Some 18,000 supporters of Pegida attended a rally in Dresden
In Cologne, the authorities switched off the lights of the city's cathedral as a way of telling Pegida supporters they are supporting "extremists".
"We don't think of it as a protest, but we would like to make the many conservative Christians [who support Pegida] think about what they are doing," the dean of the cathedral, Norbert Feldhoff, told the BBC.
|A woman protesting against the anti-Islam party Pegida holds up a sign|
Much of the city centre was also plunged into darkness as lights were switched off at major buildings and bridges across the Rhine, according to the news agency DPA.
"Today, there is really a democratic sign being sent and a lot of people in Cologne are expressing their opinion," said Cologne mayor Juergen Roters.
"They want to stress that we here in Cologne do not want to have anything to do with right-wing extremists and xenophobic people."
In Dresden, carmaker Volkswagen said it was also keeping its manufacturing plant dark to show that the company "stands for an open, free and democratic society."
|A man holds a sign reading "No to Islamisation of Europe!"|
Pegida organiser Kathrin Oertel responded in a speech at the rally in Dresden. She said that there was "political repression" in Germany once again.
"Or how would you see it when we are insulted or called racists or Nazis openly by all the political mainstream parties and media for our justified criticism of Germany's asylum seeker policies and the non-existent immigration policy?"
A poll of just over 1,000 people carried out by Germany's Stern magazine found one in eight Germans would join an anti-Islam march if Pegida organised one near their home.
Germany receives more refugees and asylum seekers than any other EU country. Many of those have come from war-torn Syria.
It's a problem wanting help with the deplorable condition of the poor people of Syria, they are desperate for sure. But the impact of Muslims in any country to which they immigrate very significantly affects the culture. Many Muslims do not integrate into society very well and often end up living in Muslim sections of a city where they don't integrate at all.
Germany is super-wary of neo-Nazi like people for obvious reasons. Unfortunately that affects their view of Pegida which overcomes any fear of Islam. Fear of Islam is what motivates Christians to march with Pegida. Check out the video at this link.
Islam has a way of taking over countries. Because of dramatically different birth rates, France will be a Muslim country within a generation or two. French society will disappear and Sharia will become national law. Look at ANY Islamic country and ask yourself if that's what you want your country to be in this century.
Germany is now expediting that process and may be in danger of competing with France to see who is going to commit cultural suicide first.