Germany hit by mass protests as furious migration row breaks out

Germany hit by mass protests as furious migration row breaks out
German cities overwhelmed by massive rallies against far-right party AfD
George Bunn

By George Bunn

Published: 22/01/2024

- 12:29

Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets to protest against the hard-right AfD party

Thousands took to the streets over the weekend across towns and cities in Germany to protest against the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) party.

It follows backlash after revelations that senior AfD figures attended a meeting where mass deportations were allegedly discussed.

The country is now wrestling with a controversial debate over whether to ban the party.

A spokesperson from AfD, which continues to poll second nationally, says it's being smeared by its opponents.

\u200bProtests took place outside the Reichstag in Berlin

Protests took place outside the Reichstag in Berlin


Over the weekend, rallies were held in Berlin, Munich and Cologne, as well as in more traditional AfD voting strongholds in eastern Germany such as Leipzig and Dresden.

The demonstration was ended early in Munich due to overcrowding with around 100,000 participants, according to police. Protest organisers said 200,000 people attended.

Protestor Steffi Kirschenmann said: "It's a signal to the world that we won't let this happen without commenting on it."

Lord Mayor of Frankfurt, Mike Josef, addressed crowds on Roemer Square, which he reminded protesters was the same spot where the Nazi regime had burnt books.


\u200bAfD has come under fire for its stance on migrants

AfD has come under fire for its stance on migrants


The AfD has declined to comment on the demonstrations against it.

German Vice-Chancellor Robert Habeck told a local newspaper he saw the demonstrations over the weekend as an encouraging sign for democracy.

He said: "It is impressive to see that many people are now taking to the streets and flying the flag for our democracy."

Central Council of Jews in Germany welcomed the demonstrations over the weekend. President Josef Schuster told Welt-TV that for Jews, this is an image "that can restore confidence in the democratic conditions" of the country.

\u200bProtests took place across Germany

Protests took place across Germany


The protests began after it emerged senior AfD party members had attended meetings with neo-Nazis and other extremists.

It has been reported the AfD met to discuss the mass deportation of migrants, asylum seekers and German citizens of foreign origin deemed to have failed to integrate.

One of the participants at the talks was leader of Austria’s Identitarian Movement Martin Sellner. The movement promotes the "great replacement" conspiracy theory that claims there is a plot by non-white migrants to replace Europe’s "native" white population.

AfD confirmed the presence of its members at the meeting, but has denied taking on the "remigration" project championed by Sellner.

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