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In Dresden, a Push to Counter the Weekly Anti-Islam Rallies
by Max Kutner
The square in front of the Semperoper, the opera house in Dresden, Germany, is busy one Sunday night in November. Music lovers wearing formal attire dash across the cobblestones toward ushers in red neckties, clutching tickets for Der Freischütz. Only two people appear to be standing still; they're staring at a giant television monitor fixed to the building's facade.
The monitor seems out of place on the Baroque building, a re-creation of a historic opera house that, like much of the city, was destroyed in World War II. But the director of the opera house felt it was important to project messages about tolerance and diversity in order to counter the weekly demonstrations outside its building by the nationalist group Pegida. The monitor broadcasts a slideshow of opera employees alongside their quotes about tolerance. Banners hanging from the building and nearby poles contain similar messages, such as, "For an Open World."
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