Far-right protesters march in Chemnitz

The number marching was far smaller than the estimated 6,000 who assembled the day after the August 26 stabbing of Daniel Hillig.


Around a thousand protesters attended the march (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)
Around a thousand protesters attended the march (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)

More than a thousand far-right supporters have gathered for a rally over the fatal stabbing of a man in the German city of Chemnitz, for which two migrants have been arrested and charged with manslaughter.

The flag-waving crowd rallied under the motto “security for Chemnitz” and behind a banner proclaiming “we are the people”.

The number marching was far smaller than the estimated 6,000 who assembled the day after the August 26 stabbing of 35-year-old Daniel Hillig.

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Protesters marched under a banner reading “we are the people” (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)

Around 500 counter-protesters gathered nearby shouting slogans like “there’s no right to Nazi propaganda”, while another opposition protest featured an open-air performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony as a sign “against xenophobia, hate and violence”.

Local media reported one far-right supporter was arrested after being identified as having given the stiff-armed Nazi salute at a previous rally, which is banned in Germany, but police headquarters said they had no details on the report.

Since the killing of Mr Hillig, the nationalist Alternative for Germany party, or AfD, has sought to mobilise support with its anti-migrant message. But after a brief bump, polling suggests little change.

An Iraqi citizen and a Syrian citizen have been arrested on manslaughter charges over Mr Hillig’s death, which has also put a renewed a focus on Chancellor Angela Merkel’s welcoming migrant policies and revealed disagreements between her and top security officials.

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An Iraqi citizen and a Syrian citizen have been arrested on manslaughter charges (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)

Interior minister Horst Seehofer expressed sympathy on Thursday for the protesters who were provoked by the killing.

“If I were not a minister, I’d have gone to the streets as a citizen,” Mr Seehofer said, quickly adding: “Naturally, not together with the radicals.”

Mr Seehofer, who heads the Bavarian sister party to Mrs Merkel’s centre-right Christian Democrats, has long been to the chancellor’s right on immigration, but his rhetoric has toughened as polls show his party struggling ahead of an October state election.

He told the Rheinischen Post newspaper that voters were linking their concerns to the issue of migration, which he called “the mother of all political problems in this country”.

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Mrs Merkel responded in an interview with Germany TV network RTL late on Thursday that she saw it differently.

“Migration presents us with challenges and here we have problems, but also successes,” she said. Mrs Merkel added that she was working with Mr Seehofer to solve those problems.

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