Thousands march against far-right in Germany

Thousands march against far-right in Germany
Thousands march against far-right in Germany

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - People attend a protest against right-wing extremism and for the protection of German democracy in Potsdam, Germany, January 14, 2024. — Reuters pic

BERLIN, Jan 15 — Thousands of people marched just outside Berlin, police said yesterday, in a protest over allegations that the far-right AfD party has plans for the mass-expulsion of foreigners.

Social Democrat Chancellor Olaf Scholz and his ecologist Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock were among nearly 10,000 who took part in the march through the streets of Potsdam, just outside the German capital.

Thousands more gathered at Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate, said police. Similar marches took place in other cities around Germany.

It was organised after reports that the AfD, which is currently riding high in the polls, had discussed such a plan at a meeting with Austrian extremists in November.

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The marches came after allegations by the German investigative media outlet Correctiv that AfD officials attended a meeting with Martin Sellner, a leader of Austria’s white pride Identitarian Movement.

He had presented a plan to “reverse the inward migration of foreigners”, and remove migrants and asylum seekers instead, Correctiv reported.

Identitarian Movement subscribes to the “great replacement” conspiracy theory that claims there is a plot by non-white migrants to replace Europe’s “native” white population.

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The report by Correctiv created a shockwave in Germany, at a time when the AfD is polling at between 21 and 23 per cent nationally in terms of voting intentions.

The party has more than 30 per cent support in some parts of the former East Germany, where regional elections are due to be held later this year.

On Saturday, Scholz warned against extremism as the far right was criticised for trying to exploit anti-government protests led by farmers.

“When legitimate protests turn into anger or contempt for democratic processes and institutions, we all lose,” said Scholz.

“Only those who despise our democracy will benefit.” — AFP

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