PEGIDA protests turn up heat on EU immigration officials

Thousands of protesters from the far-right group PEGIDA gathered in the Netherlands and Germany this week to rally against their countries’ asylum policies.

The recent rise in these anti-immigrant demonstrations is evidence that nationalist groups are using fears of instability caused by the refugee crisis to pressure ruling parties to create policies to keep immigrants out, one expert told Al Jazeera.

Natalia Banulescu-Bogdan, assistant director at the Washington-based Migration Policy Institute’s international program, said that images of overflowing shelters, crowded buses and chaotic scenes at border crossings feed into people’s negative perceptions of migration and contribute to a Europe-wide surge in populism.

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