Tuesday 11 December 2018

Anti-migrant march met by huge protest against AfD

Supporters of the Anti-immigration party Alternative for Germany (AfD) protest in Berlin, Germany. Photo: REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke
Supporters of the Anti-immigration party Alternative for Germany (AfD) protest in Berlin, Germany. Photo: REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

Trudi Junge in Berlin

About 5,000 supporters of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) marched through Berlin, but they were heavily outnumbered by anti-AfD demonstrations.

The AfD's anti-immigration, anti-European Union and anti-Muslim messages helped it become the third-largest party in the German Bundestag in last September's vote but it has had little impact on parliamentary debate since then.

The AfD demonstrators, bussed in from around Germany, marched from Berlin's main station, down the banks of the Spree river to the Brandenburg Gate near parliament.

But there were around 20,000 anti-AfD protesters - according to police estimates - most of them younger people, highlighting the divisions that have emerged in Germany since the 2015 refugee crisis.

The party, founded as an anti-EU party in 2013, reinvented itself with an anti-immigration stance after Chancellor Angela Merkel's decision to open Germany's borders to more than a million refugees in 2015.

The AfD supporters, mostly older, waved German and AfD flags and carried placards demanding "Democracy, not Merkelatorship".

Irish Independent

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