A right-wing German party known as Alternative for Deutschland held a conference in Stuttgart this weekend. Thousands of left-wing protesters turned up Saturday and clashed with as many as 1,000 riot police. Reuters reports:
German left-wing demonstrators clashed with police on Saturday as they tried to break up the first full conference of the anti-immigration party Alternative for Germany where Chancellor Angela Merkel’s policies came under attack.
Police counted up to 2,000 left-wing protesters, some of whom burned tires and hurled stones and fireworks to try to stop the AfD’s congress going ahead in Stuttgart. Some 500 were detained, police said.
Two policemen were slightly injured, but there were no reports of injured among the protesters, police spokesman Lambert Maute said.
The AP adds that protesters were chanting “Refugees can stay, Nazis must go!” Japan’s NHK has a report showing video from the scene Saturday morning:
There were actually two demonstrations against the conference. The earlier one shown in the video above involved thousands of protesters who clashed with police. Later in the day there was a march through Stuttgart that was described as peaceful.
The BBC reports the AfD did adopt an explicitly anti-Islam platform:
Delegates at a party conference adopted a ban on minarets, the call to prayer and the full-face veil, saying Islam was “not part of Germany”.
A delegate who called for more local dialogue with Muslim groups was booed.
The AfD has small but growing support in Germany and hopes to advance itself in next year’s national elections. Reuters reports, “Opinion polls see the party coming in at between 10 and 14 percent…”
Resistance to immigration has gained ground since Chancellor Angela Merkel announced an open border policy which resulted in over one million immigrants from the Middle East and North Africa arriving in the country in 2015.
An incident last New Year’s Eve in the city of Cologne became international news after groups of immigrants allegedly sexually assaulted over 500 women. The total number of crimes reported in Cologne that night was over 1,500. Dozens of similar complaints involving immigrant men were made in other German cities on New Year’s Eve.