Controversial MP George Galloway among those at North East rally against Pegida

George Galloway
George Galloway
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Controversial MP George Galloway will attend a protest rally against the first Pegida anti-Islam demo in the country and has branded them “right-wing nutters”.

The new group, which has its roots in Germany, inists it is not linked to the far right, not racist and has vowed the protest in Newcastle will be peaceful.

Northumbria Police has planned a major operation to keep the busy city centre safe for everyone including football fans ahead of Newcastle United’s game against Aston Villa.

Mr Galloway, Respect MP for Bradford West, was on his way to join the Newcastle Unites counter demonstration.

He said: “It is absolutely extraordinary that a German organisation sets up in the UK - it’s not as if there is a lack of right-wing nutter organisations here.

“They have got to be opposed, wherever they are.”

On Facebook, Pegida - whose name translated from the German acronym means Patriotic Europeans against the Islamisation of the West - said: “We would like to remind everyone that this will be a peaceful rally where people from all walks of life will gather together to unite against extreme Islam, nothing else.

“We all have one main aim and that is to protect our British values and our culture.

“Patriots together showing what British resolve is all about, let’s do it but do it peacefully together!”

It was unclear how many people will support the first Pegida rally, although more than 800 people have indicated on Facebook that they will attend.

Pegida peaked in Germany last month when 25,000 people attended an event in Dresden but its popularity has faded following a scandal among its leadership.

Northumbria Police has said it will be business as normal for visitors to the city centre.

Newcastle Chief Superintendent Laura Young said: “The force respects the right to peaceful protest and takes a neutral standpoint, not supporting or endorsing any groups or individuals.”