Merkel condemns anti-immigrant riots
Several people have been injured as thousands of far-right protesters clashed with riot police in an eastern German city where a knife killing was allegedly committed by refugees from Syria and Iraq.
A second day of protests was held in Chemnitz on Monday, chanting “we are louder, we are more” and “Luegenpresse” (lying press).
Almost 25 per cent of Chemnitz voters supported the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) in last year’s election.
Placards read “Stop the refugee flood” and “Defend Europe” with a picture of an automatic rifle.
Banners had the insignia of the AfD and neo-Nazi NPD parties and other extremist groups, while the illegal right-handed Hitler salute was seen (pictured).
Demonstrators hurled bottles and flares at about 1,000 left-wing protesters, who chanted “Nazis out” and “There’s no right to Nazi propaganda”.
The police tried to keep the crowds apart.
The groups took to the streets after a 35-year-old German man was injured during a clash after a street festival and died early on Sunday.
Prosecutor Christine Muecke said the incident stemmed from an argument that escalated.
A 22-year-old Syrian and a 21-year-old Iraqi were arrested and held on suspicion of manslaughter.
The mayor of Chemnitz, Barbara Ludwig, told broadcaster MDR that she was horrified by the scenes.
“It is terrible that people can organise to meet up and then put an end to a city festival, run through the city and threaten people,” Ludwig said.
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert condemned the violence, telling the media: “We don’t tolerate such unlawful assemblies and the hounding of people who look different or have different origins, and attempts to spread hatred on the streets.
“That has no place in our cities and we, as the German government, condemn it in the strongest terms.
“Our basic message for Chemnitz and beyond is that there is no place in Germany for vigilante justice, for groups that want to spread hatred on the streets, for intolerance and for extremism.”
Left party politician Kerstin Köditz was critical of the police for having taken too long to react.
“Why did it take so long to get together enough forces? When information starts to trickle through that someone has died during a city festival, the police should really have been ready to go in,” she said.
Nazi salutes in Chemnitz yesterday (Monday). Picture credit: YouTube