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German Anti-Islamist Leader Resigns

The leader of Germany's anti-Islamic Pegida movement has resigned, as tens of thousands of people rallied in support of and against Islamic refugees in the eastern German city of Leipzig.

Organizers said they expected more people to counterdemonstrate against Pegida (Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West), whose protest was expected to draw tens of thousands.

Officials said there could be some 100,000 protesters and counterdemonstrators at rallies on January 21.

Pegida co-founder Kathrin Oertel said on January 21 leader Lutz Bachmann had resigned, but added, "Pegida will go on."

Bachmann made headlines in Germany on January 21 when a picture of him with a mustache and haircut like Adolf Hitler was taken from his Facebook site.

Oertel said his resignation had nothing to do with the Hitler photo but was linked to comments posted on the Internet.

Bachmann has reportedly called refugees "scumbags," prompting prosecutors to investigate him for inciting hatred.

Based on reporting by dpa and AFP