Far right demonstrators have been protesting on the streets of Chemnitz since last week and took to the streets again this Saturday, for the latest round of high profile battle over the future of their country.
Thousands of people have been coming together chanting and marching down the streets and some far right demonstrators have even gone as far as performing Nazi salutes. People have been shouting ‘foreigners out’ and have chased people they suspected of being refugees down the streets. These protests are occurring following the killing of a 35 year old German man. An Iraqi and a Syrian were later arrested on suspicion of stabbing him during an altercation. It has been a week since the protests broke out and initially started with around 800 far right activists going out to ‘defend’ their country.
Photograph: Jens Meyer/AP
The police have been overwhelmed with the numbers and the violence. There were fears of more violence breaking out this weekend as the same far rights movement called for another protests however a group on the Chemnitz boulevard spoke out defending diversity and asking for people to celebrate it rather then attack it.
“Say it loud, say it clear, refugees are welcome here,” they chanted loudly as they marched down the street to join thousands of others in a park at the centre of the city, for an event dubbed “Herz Statt Hetze”, “Heart not Hate”.
Counteract groups are organising friendly protests in which they are placing emphasis on fighting against fascism and Nazi supporters.
Th far right group “Pro Chemnitz”, mustered more than 6,000 protesters, while “Chemnitz Nazifrei” (Chemnitz free of Nazis) organised a counter-protest of about 1,500. But this time the numbers were different. Thousands of far-right protesters had gathered again, but so too had large crowds of their opponents and they were heading to the park. Dozens of police vans and officers – and a few streets – separated the two groups.
At the far-right gathering, around the city’s monument to Karl Marx, they chanted “We are the people”, a phrase once used to herald the end of the East German communist regime but since reclaimed by the far right.
The blame is being put on several individuals whilst some are putting the blame on policies which have caused a sghrap influx of immigration from outside the EU. Werner Patzelt, political scientist at the Technical University of Dresden, said:
“The feeling of east Germans is that arrogant west German policymaking imposes things on them that they really dislike, and migration, as it was relaunched in 2015, is a significant dimension of that,” he said. “It is resented.”
German chancellor Angela Merkel accepted a million refugees in the country seeking asylum. That was more than four times the number that arrived in 2014.