For a good three weeks, tens of thousands have been demonstrating against the right and the AfD. The protests continue – including a special action at the Reichstag building in Berlin.
As part of the mass protests against right-wing extremism, a rally with 100,000 people has been registered for this Saturday at the Reichstag building in Berlin. A symbolic human chain is planned under the motto “We are the firewall”. Behind the campaign against hate and for tolerance is an alliance called Hand in Hand with more than 1,300 organizations.
Under the same motto, 120 organizations have registered a demonstration in Dresden with 10,000 people. In Hanover there is a similar campaign at the Lower Saxony state parliament. There are also dozens of other campaigns in small and large cities from Brunsbüttel in Schleswig-Holstein to Freiburg in Baden-Württemberg.
Trigger of the demonstrations
For a good three weeks, tens of thousands of people have been taking to the streets all over Germany against the right and the AfD. The trigger was research by the media company Correctiv into a meeting between radical right-wingers and individual politicians from the AfD, CDU and Values Union in Potsdam in November.
There, the former head of the right-wing extremist Identitarian Movement in Austria, Martin Sellner, said he spoke about the concept of so-called remigration. 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.
Demo in Berlin
The organizers said that the large demonstration in Berlin was part of the protests of the past few weeks. At the same time, it is intended as a start for the Hand in Hand network, which wants to campaign for democracy and human rights in view of the elections this year.
“Yes, our democracy is in danger,” says the Berlin Alliance’s call. “But we are determined to become loud and active: for an open, democratic, plural and solidarity society, together against the shift to the right in Germany and Europe.”
The supporters include many small initiatives, but also large organizations such as the trade unions Verdi, GEW and IG Metall, Amnesty International, refugee aid organizations and also the climate protest groups Extinction Rebellion and Last Generation. Politicians have also announced their presence at the rally, including the chairmen of the SPD and the Left.
SPD leader Saskia Esken told the editorial network Germany: “Many people in Germany are horrified by the deportation plans of right-wing extremist networks, which the research network Correctiv has uncovered.” It is worrying “how deeply the AfD appears to be integrated into these networks.” This is precisely why we need to strengthen initiatives that promote democracy, diversity and cohesion throughout the country. To this end, the Democracy Promotion Act must be passed by the Bundestag as quickly as possible.
The federal anti-discrimination commissioner, Ferda Ataman, however, called for more protection against discrimination. “Many people who experience racism and discrimination are currently very afraid of the future. And they have the impression that politics is doing nothing for them and is not taking their fears and concerns seriously.” Almost nothing comes from the federal government and the democratic parties – “except a few lip service.” The federal government is falling short of its own coalition agreement in both the fight against discrimination and the issue of anti-Semitism.
Bavaria’s Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) described it as “completely right” that the AfD is the addressee of the nationwide protests. “It is a deeply right-wing extremist party. It really shakes me every time I hear these hateful speeches,” Söder told the “Rheinische Post”.
According to the police, more than 100,000 demonstrators came to Berlin’s government district on January 21st. The Bundestag, which has been based in the converted historic Reichstag building since 1999, is the central symbol of German democracy.
On August 29, 2020, a few hundred participants in a demonstration against Corona measures tried to storm the building. At that time, many carried Reich citizen symbols and flags with them. According to the officers involved, the police were only able to fend them off with difficulty.
At the end of 2022, the Federal Prosecutor’s Office arrested a suspected terrorist group led by the entrepreneur Heinrich VIII Prince Reuss, which is also said to have planned to storm the Reichstag building. The aim of the suspects from the Reichsbürger scene is said to have been a coup using violence.
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.