Anti-Islamic political organization, Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West, canceled its march through a Muslim neighborhood in Canada Saturday after hundreds of people showed up to protest the march. The Montreal Gazette reported only 15 supporters of PEGIDA, an anti-immigration organization, showed up to the demonstrate instead of the nearly 200 who had said they would attend the event via the group's Facebook page. The counterprotest drew hundreds of people, who arrived 30 minutes prior to the PEGIDA’s schedule march with signs denouncing the anti-Islamic message, the Canadian Broadcast Corp. reported.
PEGIDA was granted permission by Montreal police to march, and officers were on scene to monitor the activity. However, Mayor Denis Coderre denounced extremist groups like PEGIDA via Twitter earlier in the week.
“Extremism is unacceptable,” his tweet read.
Little Maghreb, the area of Quebec where the group planned to march, is known for its largely Muslim population.
The right-wing PEGIDA, based in Dresden, Germany, first entered the scene in October with protests against the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris. Saturday's planned march was reportedly the organization's first protest in North America. The planned route would have passed by several of the neighborhood's Muslim community centers and mosques, CBC reports.
The counterprotest Saturday was organized by the Revolutionary Communist Party, CTV news reported. PEGIDA leader Jean-Francois Asgard told a reporter he would not attend Saturday's protest due to threats made via Facebook.
PEGIDA announced the cancellation of its event via its Facebook page, which the group had used to organize its contingents and rallies, before the event's planned start time at 4 p.m. Police also announced at the scene the rally had been canceled, CTV news reported.