The Latest: German police advise end of anti-migrant rally
CHEMNITZ, Germany (AP) — The Latest on anti-migrant protests in Germany after the fatal stabbing of a German citizen (all times local):
Police in eastern Germany say they have asked the organizers of an anti-migrant march to end their protest for the day due to safety concerns and the exceeding of their authorized time limit.
Demonstrators at Saturday’s nights’ nationalist protest in the city of Chemnitz could be heard screaming and whistling in response. A 35-year-old German citizen was fatally stabbed in the city six nights ago. Migrants from Syria and Iraq were arrested as suspects.
Saxony state police said the march attracted about 4,500 participants. A massive police presence was on hand to try to keep the crowds away from a counter-protest of 4,000 people.
The opposing camps confronted one another violently Monday shocking people in others parts of Germany.
Thousands of far-right protesters have started marching through a city in eastern Germany where a German man was killed almost a week ago and two migrants face charges in the slaying.
Leaders of Germany’s Alternative for Germany party and of populist group Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West wore dark suits and held white roses as they began what they called a “mourning march” Saturday night.
Several thousand people followed behind them in the city of Chemnitz. Many participants held German flags and posters of alleged victims of migrant violence.
Large numbers of police officers lined the streets while watching to keep the far-right crowd away an earlier protest against anti-foreigner sentiment that drew about 2,000 participants, according to the German news agency dpa.
The opposing camps confronted one another violently in Chemnitz on Monday, shocking people in others parts of Germany
Germany’s interior minister says he understands why people “are upset about the brutal killing” of a German citizen for which two migrants face charge.
The Funke Media Group quoted Interior Minister Horst Seehofer as saying that despite the fear and anger, “there’s no excuse for violence” in Chemnitz, the Saxony city where the slaying happened six days ago.
Seehofer’s tough stance on migration has put him at odds with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. However, he stressed a message of unity as far-right groups prepared to hold more anti-migrant protests in Chemnitz.
He said: “We need a strong state and we have to do everything politically to overcome the polarization and division of our society.”
Emboldened far-right activists in eastern Germany hope a protest joining establishing groups announces the arrival of a nationwide anti-migrant movement to challenge the political establishment.
Several groups scheduled rallies Saturday in the city of Chemnitz over the Aug. 26 killing of a German citizen, allegedly by migrants from Syria and Iraq. The two largest groups invited concerned citizens to join them later as they converge for the first time, hoping a broader far-right drive emerges from their display of unity.
Counter-protesters organized a rival rally that could test authorities’ ability to keep the peace. The opposing camps confronted one another in Chemnitz on Monday, and scenes of vigilantes chasing foreigners in the city’s streets have shocked people in others parts of Germany since then.
The increasingly open displays of anti-migrant sentiment and violence reflect Germany’s ongoing effort to come to terms with an influx of more than 1 million refugees and migrants seeking jobs since 2015.
Germany’s far right is trying to make protests this weekend a watershed moment in which different nationalist groups — from lawmakers in national parliament to Hitler-saluting skinheads — will come together in a national anti-migrant movement to challenge the political establishment.
Several rallies by different far-right groups will merge on Saturday night, and organizers have invited concerned citizens to join the marches protesting the killing of a German man last week, allegedly by migrants from Syria and Iraq. They are hoping that unity could signal the beginning of a broad far-right pact in eastern Germany.
A rival rally by their opponents will test authorities’ ability to keep the peace after scenes of vigilantes chasing foreigners in the city streets shocked Germany this week.