Massive mobilizations against the far-right in Germany

German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, supported the mobilisation and warned against the far-right.

Tens of thousands of people gathered again across Germany on Sunday to protest against the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, after it emerged that members of the party discussed mass deportation plans at a meeting of extremists.

The number of protesters was so large in Munich that organizers were forced to cancel a planned march and ask people to disperse for safety reasons. Organizers said about 50,000 people had attended the rally, double the number registered. An earlier estimate, announced to the crowd, put the figure at 200,000 people, according to an AFP journalist. The police estimated an intermediate figure, around 100,000 people, according to the German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung.

The protesters who went to the protest site carried banners that read “Nazis out” and “Never again is now.” Some 250,000 people had already gathered on Saturday in cities across the country, according to ARD estimates.

From Friday until the weekend, demonstrations were called in a hundred locations throughout Germany, including Munich, Berlin and cities in the east of the country, where the AfD has its strongholds.

Some 35,000 people gathered peacefully in Frankfurt (south), according to the police, with the motto ‘Defend democracy – Frankfurt against the AfD and the turn to the right’, and called by an environmental organization. At the massive demonstration the attendees were addressed by the mayor of the city, the social democrat Mike Josef, and the writer and director of the Anne Frank training center, Meron Mendel, while other well-known figures participated in a personal capacity, such as the president of the Federal Bank, Joachim Nagel.

In Hannover (center), the police also calculated about 35,000 attendees, which, according to the organizers, would be the most populous protest held in the history of the capital of Lower Saxony.

The authorities in Dortmund (west) counted about 30,000 protesters, while in Karslruhe (south), they announced 20,000; and in Halle (east), 16,000. In other urban centers such as Kassel or Gießen (both in the center of the country), the security forces reported the participation of about 12,000 protesters, while in Nuremberg (south) there were at least 10,000, according to the police.

In cities such as Freiburg (south), Koblenz (west) or Wuppertal (west), security forces reported the participation of around 5,000 protesters in each town.

The wave of mobilizations against the far-right party was triggered by a report on January 10 investigative outlet Correctiv, which revealed that members of the AfD had discussed the expulsion of immigrants and “unassimilated citizens” in a meeting with extremists.

Among those participating in the conversations was Martin Sellner, leader of Austria’s Identitarian Movement, which subscribes the “great replacement” conspiracy theory, according to which there is a plot by non-white immigrants to replace the “native” white population of Europe.

News of the meeting caused shock in Germany at a time when the AfD is rising like foam in opinion polls, a few months before three important regional elections in eastern Germany, where his support is strongest.

The anti-immigration party confirmed the presence of its members at the meeting, but has denied taking up the “remigration” project advocated by Sellner.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who joined a demonstration last weekend, declared that any plan to expel to immigrants or citizens alike meant “an attack against our democracy and, in turn, against all of us.”

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