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PEGIDA protester leaves police after reporter row

August 30, 2018

The man who prompted police to hold reporters for questioning during a far-right demonstration in Dresden no longer works for the state police. The case raised questions about far-right reach within law enforcement.

A PEGIDA demonstration in Dresden, Germany
Image: imago/P. Sander

The far-right PEGIDA protester at the center of a scandal involving police and journalists in the eastern German city of Dresden no longer works for the investigative arm of Saxony's state police, the LKA, officials announced on Thursday.

Starting on September 3, the man will have "another adequate role outside of the Saxon Police force," authorities said in a statement.

The decision was made following discussions with the man and his lawyer where he had the opportunity "to present his perspective on the situation," the statement read.

The man in the Germany hat

The man became known across Germany for shouting at a TV crew from public broadcaster ZDF, who were reporting on a far-right demonstration during German Chancellor Angela Merkel's visit to Dresden.

He claimed, falsely, that the crew had been illegally filming him and complained to police who then held and questioned the reporters.

The ZDF reporters filmed the incident and released footage of the man, who was wearing a hat with the colors of the German flag.

Read more: German police fight far-right infiltration claims

The incident sparked concerns about links between Germany's police force and the far-right, particularly in areas of eastern Germany where anti-immigrant and anti-Islam movements are particularly active.

Dresden's police chief, Horst Kretzschmar, later apologized to the ZDF reporters, saying he regretted the actions police took during the PEGIDA demonstration. The man in question reportedly worked in a clerical capacity for the LKA, not as a law enforcer.

Few foreigners - but a hotbed for xenophobia?

rs/rt (AFP, dpa)

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