Pegida predicted there will be 100,000 of its supporters marching through the streets of Britain by the end of the year, as the group gathered for a rally in Birmingham. Around 200 members of the anti-Islamic group held a "silent walk" from Birmingham International train station to the remote International Business Park, around one mile away in the outskirts of the city.

Speaking at a demo at the end of the walk, Pegida leader Paul Weston told the rain-soaked crowd: "The next meeting we have is going to be double or treble the numbers."

He added: "By the end of this year, and I'm been quite serious, I want to see 100,000 decent people on the street."

Those taking part in the short march were encouraged not to talk as part of the group's plan to show they are a more "civilised and peaceful" group than previous far-right organisations, such as the English Defence Leauge (EDL). Only one person was arrested on the day, as police confirmed the demo passed without any serious incidents.

Tommy Robinson
Tommy Robinson speaks at the rally in BirminghamIbtimes

The Pegida rally was met with two anti-fascist demos, one at the train station and a larger protest held in Victoria Square in the city centre.

Pegida, which started in Germany, but its UK branch has held rallies in cities such as Newcastle, have seen its profile rise in recent months due to its association with Tommy Robinson, founder of the EDL.

Robinson insisted it was the far-right group's intention not to hold the rally in the city centre – as seen in previous far-right rallies, which often saw outbursts of violence – and the group "specifically chose to be here months ago".

He told IBTimes UK: "We chose this location because we don't want to be in the city centre, we don't want to cause disruption, we don't want a confrontation.

Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley Lennon, also said that the "seeds have been planted" with regards to support for the group it's "going to grow" further.

West Midlands Police said there were no reports of serious disorder or injuries and the only arrest involved 39-year-old man from east London, who was removed from the counter demo muster point for a public order related matter prior to the start of the "silent walk".

Counter Pegida
A counter-demonstration was also held in Birmingham's city centerIbtimes

Solihull Police Commander, Chief Superintendent Alex Murray, said: "We've been planning the operation for months; the collective efforts of our officers, Solihull Council, partner agencies, protest organisers and community groups helped ensure the event passed off without any serious disorder.

"We had a large police presence on the ground, including protest liaison officers, in order to deal effectively with any issues. But we were confident the rally would be peaceful: our negotiations with Pegida representatives were positive and they stressed their intentions to express their views lawfully.

"Disruption was kept to a minimum – Bickenhill Lane was closed temporarily to allow for protestors to walk from Birmingham International to the demo point, but hopefully it didn't hugely inconvenience motorists or local businesses."

West Midlands Police & Crime Commissioner David Jamieson, added: "I would like to thank the police for their thorough, sensible planning which has helped ensure the event remained peaceful.

"Protests like this have a knock-on effect on the force's ability to deliver non-emergency policing. I sincerely hope this is the last protest of its sort that we see here for a good long while. The West Midlands is a place where people live side by side happily… it is sad when people from outside the region try to undermine that."