Tenerife declares anti-migrant PEGIDA founder persona non grata | News | DW | 29.10.2016
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Tenerife declares anti-migrant PEGIDA founder persona non grata

"Those who don't love Germany should leave Germany," PEGIDA co-founder Lutz Bachmann once said. Now, one month after moving to Tenerife, local officials have told him he is not welcome.

The co-founder of the right-wing, anti-Islam PEGIDA movement, Lutz Bachmann, has been declared "persona non grata" in Tenerife, one month after relocating to the Spanish island.

It remains unclear, however, if or when Bachmann could be forced to leave the island.

The Spanish left-wing party Podemos was one of the keenest advocates for the 43-year-old to be declared an unwanted resident. The local Tenerife newspaper "La Opinion de Tenerife" quoted Podemos spokesman Fernando Sabate of saying, "This declaration should serve as a vaccine because this person is like a virus."

"Please, no more racism or fascism," Sabate added.

The Socialist representative for Tenerife, Miguel Angel Perez, said it was a moral duty to condemn the residency of a racist and a xenophobe. 

Bachmann only located to the sun-soaked island a little more than a month ago and was seen less and less during PEGIDA rallies, which he helped launch in the eastern German city of Dresden. Upon news of his move, Bachmann posted on Facebook: "Who cares where one lives earns their wage, as long as you stand behind the cause."

Deutschland Pegida-Demo in Dresden (picture-alliance/dpa/O. Killing)

Anti-migrant Pegida supporters attend the movement's two-year anniversary march

PEGIDA, which found its foot in October 2014 and stands Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West, gained significant momentum following an influx of refugees from Syria and other Muslim countries into Germany. It has held almost weekly demonstrations against Islam, refugees, mainstream politics and the media for the past two years.

However, turnout at demonstrations has significantly dwindled from an all-time high of 25,000 in January 2015 to just 5,000 at its 2-year anniversary rally this month.

Bachmann also has a number of criminal charges stacked against. Most recently, the city of Dresden lodged a complaint after a series of attacks by Pegida followers during this month's Day of German Unity celebrations.

dm/sms (epd, dpa)