For the third weekend in a row, tens of thousands of people across the country took to the streets against the right. Will the protests continue? And do they harm the AfD?
The Federal Government’s Integration Commissioner, Reem Alabali-Radovan, hopes that the nationwide protests against the right will also be reflected in everyday life. Concern about right-wing extremism has reached the majority of society, the State Minister told the digital media company Table.Media in view of the strong participation in the demonstrations. But two things are important now. “First of all, we have to understand the perspective of those affected, encourage them and, above all, show them that solidarity now doesn’t just last a few weeks. Then we have to ensure that the solidarity of the protests is also reflected in everyday life,” said Alabali- Radovan.
She would like each and every person to actively talk to their family, friends or clubs and to intervene in cases of racism and conspiracy theories: “Facing the confrontation, even if it sometimes becomes difficult on an interpersonal level,” she said.
On January 10th, the Correctiv research center reported on a meeting of radical right-wingers in which some AfD politicians as well as individual members of the CDU and the very conservative Values Union took part in Potsdam. The former head of the right-wing extremist Identitarian Movement in Austria, Martin Sellner, said he spoke about “remigration” at the meeting on November 25th. 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. According to Correctiv, Sellner named three target groups: asylum seekers, foreigners with the right to remain and “unassimilated citizens.”
Hundreds of thousands against the right on the street
Since the revelations, people across the country have been taking to the streets against the right. Last weekend, like the weekend before, there were hundreds of thousands in many large and also smaller cities. According to the police, around 100,000 people took to the streets in Düsseldorf alone on Saturday. According to the police, there were around 60,000 people in Hamburg on Sunday, and the Fridays for Future movement as co-organizer even spoke to around 100,000 people. In dozens of other cities, thousands of people took part in the protests, which were also directed against the AfD.
In the Saale-Orla district in eastern Thuringia, the AfD lost the runoff election despite a clear lead in the first round. The CDU candidate Christian Herrgott prevailed on Sunday with 52.4 percent of the vote against AfD man Uwe Thrum with 47.6 percent, as the state returning officer announced. The AfD had hoped for the second district office in the country after Robert Sesselmann in Sonneberg, also in Thuringia. In Thuringia and the Saale-Orla district, initiatives mobilized against Thrum’s election.
In Thuringia, Saxony and Brandenburg, new state parliaments will be elected in September. In all three federal states, the AfD is currently the strongest force in surveys.
Demonstrations also in small towns
Bundestag Vice President Katrin Göring-Eckardt is encouraged by the ongoing protests against the right. “The demonstrations are encouraging – throughout the country, but especially in East Germany,” said the Green politician from Thuringia to the Editorial Network Germany (RND). “We fought for democracy there in 1989, now it’s time to defend it again.” Göring-Eckardt added: “People are standing up not only in the big cities, but also in many smaller towns. Some people are taking part in a demonstration here for the first time.”
Former Federal President Christian Wulff (CDU) described the protests against right-wing extremism as “something big” that deeply impressed him. Even people who competed politically in everyday life were united “by the seriousness of the situation,” Wulff told the “Tagesspiegel”. Never again should a minority in Germany be left alone if they are threatened. Wulff also attacked the AfD. The party largely acts against human dignity, the rule of law and democracy. If the AfD were to gain influence, it would not only massively endanger minorities, “but would harm the entire country,” warned Wulff.
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.