German intelligence services said Friday they would widen their surveillance of Islamophobic protest movement Pegida in its home state of Saxony, as the group had become “extremist” and “anti-constitutional”. While Pegida had previously attracted “heterogeneous” support and taken “moderate” positions, it had developed “an increasingly right-wing extremist orientation”, Saxony’s domestic intelligence agency LfV said in a statement. “By regularly offering right-wing extremists a platform to propagate anti-constitutional ideologies, this movement acts as a hinge between extremists and non-extremists,” said agency president Dirk-Martin Christian. He added that “all people and activities” within the group would now be put under surveillance, with the exception of those merely taking part in peaceful demonstrations. Pegida, which campaigns against what it calls the “Islamisation of the West”, was born in October 2014 with xenophobic marches every Monday evening. Its protests gained momentum during the refugee crisis of 2015, when Germany became deeply polarised over Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision to keep the country’s doors open to hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers, many from Iraq or Syria. The movement’s popularity coincided with the rise of the far-right AfD party, which entered parliament for the first time in 2017 on an anti-refugee and anti-immigration platform. Pegida has previously been declared as extremist and put under observation by spy agencies in other German states such as Bavaria.