Pegida
Riot police watch over Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West (Pegida) protesters in the southern city of Malmo, during the anti-Islam group's first demonstration in Sweden on February 9, 2015.Getty Images

Sweden's first Pegida rally held in southern city of Malmoe on Monday (9 February) was met with a massive counter-demonstration hundred times larger, according to police estimates.

"There are at least 3,000, most of them counter-demonstrators," Malmoe police spokesman Lars Foerstell told AFP News.

Foerstell said the number of Pegida protesters was estimated at 30.

In response to the police statement, Pegida's Swedish leader Henrik Roennquist insisted, "the support is much greater than that."

Roennquist said around 150 Pegida supporters showed up at Sweden's first anti-Islamisation rally.

Pegida supporters attempting to deliver speeches were overshadowed by counter-demonstrators chanting, "no racists on our streets", and cornered at Malmoe's central square with the anti-racism protesters surrounding them.

Police eventually intervened after smoke bombs and firecrackers were thrown at the Pegida side of the square.

The Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the Occident (Pegida) rally was given a go-ahead in Sweden but police refused to allow Pegida to march permitting a "stationary demonstration" only.

"A march would have had too much impact on the neighbourhood," said police spokesman Foerstell.

Despite Pegida facing a downfall after founder Lutz Bachmann stepped down on 21 January and several other senior Pegida leaders followed suit, Pegida's Swedish leader Roennquist insists that, "there is an unmet need for this in Sweden."

"It's not about racism, it's not about shutting out immigrants. It's about our values and traditions," said Roennquist.