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Pegida sees 'complete failure' in Norway

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Pegida sees 'complete failure' in Norway
The Pegida demonstration in Oslo on Monday. Photo: Tor Bach/Vepsen.no
18:59 CET+01:00
A leading expert on the far right has branded the anti-Islamic movement Pegida “a complete failure” in Norway after just 25 people showed up to take part in a march in Oslo on Monday.
"Pegida in Norway has been a complete failure with infighting breaking loose already before the first demonstration,” Tor Bach, editor of Vepsen, a magazine which tracks the far right in Norway, told The Local. “The group has gathered less people for each demonstration, ending with 25 people showing up this week." 
 
Pegida’s Norway head Max Hermansen had hailed the organization’s first Oslo march, which came shortly after January’s brutal attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, as a record for Norway, with nearly 200 protestors attending, but the numbers attending rallies have dropped consistently. 
 
“It is probably the lowest turnout to date,” Hermansen admitted to Norway’s VG newspaper, blaming the drop on social hostility.  
 
“Those who have shown their faces at such demonstrations have seen some serious difficulties,” he explained. “Some have lost their jobs, others have lost their friends.” 
 
Hermansen himself was taken off the payroll by one of his employers after he came to prominence as Pegida's leader. 
 
Bach argued that the continuing low turn-out had put to rest initial fears that the organization would draw in fresh young members to Norway's anti-Islam movement. 
 
"Police and youth workers initially were concerned about Pegida attracting young people," he said. "These worries seems to have ceased. The last demonstration hardly had any participants under the age of forty. What is left of Pegida after five weeks of existence seems to be the die-hard activists of the anti-Muslim scene in Norway, operating under a new name."
 
Pegida's first march in Sweden, also on Monday, drew only about 30 protesters, while counter-demonstrators numbered close to 3,000, police in the city of Malmö told AFP. 
 
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