This post originally appeared on VICE Alps
Pegida – which stands for Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamification of the Continent – is a far-right organisation that was founded in Dresden in late 2014. At first, it seemed like the weirdos would stay put in Germany – since the collapse of Eastern Germany, the federal state of Saxony has become synonymous with the rise of the new far-right. But it soon transpired that, like any other form of bigotry, Islamophobia also spreads.
Last night, Pegida officially arrived in Austria, holding their first-ever march in the old town centre of Vienna. Two Facebook groups "Pegida Austria" and "Pegida Vienna" joined forces to mobilise a right-wing crowd to join them for a "promenade", as they called it. About 300 Pegida sympathisers turned up.
Among them were various far-right protesters as well as some dedicated neo-Nazis. A group of masked protesters we talked to flashed us with a Nazi salute which they accompanied with a round of "Heil Hitlers" — both are illegal in Austria FYI. The same group eventually threatened the VICE Alps production team as well as various other local journalists saying "I'd happily go to jail for kicking your ass." All in all, Vienna last night was all about the good vibes.