Large demonstrations to defend democracy have been announced in several cities in the next few days. The organizers want to send a signal of resistance against right-wing extremist activities.
The reports of a meeting between right-wing activists and politicians from the AfD and CDU on the subject of migration have alarmed many: across Germany, tens of thousands of people want to take to the streets in the next few days to take a stand against right-wing extremism and for democracy. Around 10,000 people are already expected in Hamburg today at a demonstration “against right-wing extremism and neo-Nazi networks”. Rallies with titles such as “Never again is now” and “Defend democracy” are also planned in many other cities.
The heads of government are taking part in several federal states: in Hamburg Mayor Peter Tschentscher (SPD), in Jena Thuringia’s Prime Minister Bodo Ramelow (Left), in Hanover Lower Saxony’s Prime Minister Stephan Weil (SPD), in Bremen Mayor Andreas Bovenschulte (SPD).
In Hanover, where the organizers are expecting well over 10,000 participants on Saturday, former Federal President Christian Wulff (CDU) and the chairwoman of the German Federation of Trade Unions (DGB), Yasmin Fahimi, are also expected to speak. In Karlsruhe, a demonstration is scheduled to take place past the Federal Constitutional Court on Saturday. 10,000 to 20,000 demonstrators are expected in Munich on Sunday.
Further larger demonstrations are to take place in Kiel and Bielefeld, in Braunschweig, Dortmund, Erfurt and Heidelberg as well as in Berlin and Dresden, among others. A demo has even been registered in Westerland on Sylt.
Broad social support
According to a report by the media company Correctiv about a meeting with right-wing radicals in Potsdam, there have already been rallies against the right in the past few days, often with significantly more participants than expected. Tens of thousands of people gathered in Cologne, among other places.
The calls are supported in many places by large social alliances, in which, in addition to the SPD, the Greens and the Left, as well as churches and trade unions, cultural institutions and football clubs also take part.
“Anti-constitutional and right-wing tendencies represent a threat to our democratic society. It is therefore important that we as a broad majority raise our voices and send a loud, decisive signal against any form of exclusion, intolerance and discrimination,” said the President of Bundesliga soccer team Werder Bremen, Hubertus Hess-Grunewald.
Thanks from the Chancellor to the demonstrators
Chancellor Olaf Scholz thanked the demonstrators on the “This is encouraging and shows: There are many of us democrats – much more than those who want to divide,” wrote the SPD politician.
North Rhine-Westphalia’s Prime Minister Hendrik Wüst (CDU) also thanked for the civil courage. “Let’s all show our faces against the arsonists and agitators and for a cosmopolitan Germany,” Wüst wrote on X.
Rallies are already planned beyond the weekend. A human chain is planned around the Reichstag building in Berlin on February 3rd as a symbol of a firewall against the right.
The media company “Correctiv” reported on a previously unknown meeting between right-wing radicals and politicians from the AfD and CDU in a Potsdam villa on November 25th. The former head of the right-wing extremist Identitarian movement in Austria, Martin Sellner, said he spoke about “remigration” there. When right-wing extremists use the term, they usually mean that large numbers of people of foreign origin should leave the country – even under duress.
Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser spoke of “disgusting fantasies of exclusion.” “This is anything but harmless,” said the SPD politician on the ZDF program “Maybrit Illner.” Regarding the debate about a ban on the AfD, the minister said she was not ruling it out because security authorities always check whether the constitution is being violated. That could be a solution in a few years, but it is not the right way in the political debate.
SPD leader Lars Klingbeil announced a sharper substantive debate with the AfD. “We will work out how this country would change if the AfD could take over,” Klingbeil told the “Augsburger Allgemeine”. “The last few weeks have clearly shown that the AfD wants to go through the country and sort out everyone whose last name or skin color doesn’t suit them. And these are people who are an integral part of our society, who work as nursing staff, as bus drivers, as Vice-President of the Bundestag. So those who all over this country help keep things running.” It is also about the fact that the AfD wants to leave the EU. “That would put a lot of jobs at risk. This party doesn’t do anything better, it endangers our prosperity and our future,” said Klingbeil.
“This will be a year of struggle. We will fight for the working middle. We will fight against the attempt by right-wing extremists and the AfD to destroy this country,” emphasized Klingbeil. It is also relevant that the government needs to do better. They have to argue less, explain more and make political decisions for the working middle in the country.
I have been working in the news industry for over 6 years, first as a reporter and now as an editor. I have covered politics extensively, and my work has appeared in major newspapers and online news outlets around the world. In addition to my writing, I also contribute regularly to 24 Hours World.