German government sees far right behind anti-Islam protests

BERLIN: The German government says far-right extremists are behind offshoots of the anti-Islam group PEGIDA in six of the country's 16 states.

The government says far-right extremists were found to be "steering or influencing" groups in Berlin, North Rhine-Westphalia, Saxony-Anhalt, Thuringia, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Bavaria.

Saxony, where the group calling itself Patriotic Europeans against the Islamisation of Europe began staging protests more than a year ago, wasn't among those states.

PEGIDA has denied it is influenced to far-right extremists, though neo-Nazis are visibly present at its weekly demonstrations in Dresden.

The government response to a parliamentary query was first published Wednesday by German daily Thueringer Allgemeine.