Supporters of PEGIDA, a xenophobic movement active in eastern German city of Dresden, take part in a protest against Chancellor Angela Merkel and her policy on October 3, 2016. (Photo by AFP)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has received an angry greeting in the eastern city of Dresden as radicals and supporters of the xenophobic movement, PEGIDA, jeer at her to leave office.
An angry crowd of right-wing demonstrators gathered in Dresden on Monday to protest the presence of Merkel in the city to attend a series of reunification celebrations, with whistles and shouts of "Get out" heard from the demonstrators.
Merkel and German President Joachim Gauck arrived in Dresden earlier in the day for national celebrations to mark the anniversary of the reunification of East and West Germany 26 years ago.
The German chancellor has been facing mounting criticism over her open-door policy toward refugees flooding the country over the past year.
More than a million refugees crossed into Europe last year. Germany received the highest number of them, around 900,000.
Anti-refugee sentiments have affected the public support for Merkel’s CDU party which has experienced defeats in recent state elections across the country.
The harsh welcome for Merkel in Dresden was anticipated, as the city is the birthplace of PEGIDA, a xenophobic movement that follows an anti-Islamic and anti-refugee agenda. The group saw a peak in its public support in early 2015 when some 25,000 people took part in several of its rallies in Dresden. However, the support for PEGIDA subsided after Merkel urged Germans to turn their backs to the group and its hate rhetoric.
Dresden is the capital of Saxony, a German state which has seen the highest number of hate attacks against refugees over the past months.
Last week, police reported bomb attacks targeting a mosque and an international convention center in Dresden, saying they were allegedly carried out by people having xenophobic and nationalist motives.