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Police reject German nationalists’ criticism over march

February 20, 2018

A police officer speaks with women of a demonstration named 'Women's March" organized by AFD (Alternativ for Germany) politician Leyla Bilge in Berlin, Germany, Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

BERLIN (AP) — Berlin police have dismissed a nationalist party’s claim that officers failed to protect participants in a weekend protest march.

Several hundred people, including members of the Alternative for Germany party and far-right activists, marched in the German capital on Saturday to protest the government’s refugee policies.

The demonstration, billed as a “women’s march,” was meant to end in front of the German Chancellery building, but counter-protesters blocked the route. Dozens of people face possible criminal charges.

Alternative for Germany has accused police commanders of refusing to protect the march “for political reasons.”

Berlin police spokesman Winfrid Wenzel said in a statement Tuesday that politics played no role in public safety decisions.

German media report that Alternative for Germany is planning a larger march against the government in coming months.

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