In recent days, tens of thousands of people demonstrated against the Alternative for Germany party in major German cities. These demonstrations come in response to research conducted by “Correctiv” about a far-right meeting in Potsdam, in which politicians from the AfD party also participated. Among other things, it was about plans for mass expulsions of people with a migration background. Classification by SRF Germany correspondent Simon Fatzer.
Simone Fatzer has worked at SRF since 1998, including as presenter of the program “Echo der Zeit” and as file manager in Germany. She has been a correspondent in Berlin since September 2021.
Why are anti-AfD protests so popular?
This issue is of great concern to people in Germany, as it pushes civil society, from young to old, to the streets in their tens of thousands in different cities. This shows that political pressure against the right is increasing and that people want to defend democracy. The idea of what threatens Germany if right-wing extremists come to power clearly worries them greatly. The meeting in Potsdam, announced by Correctiv, made many people feel compelled to set a public example in the spirit of “defending beginnings.”
Far-right meeting in Potsdam
According to the Search by “Correctiv” Last November, AfD politicians met with neo-Nazis and big business owners to talk about “re-immigration” plans. It is about the deportation and expulsion of millions of people from Germany. These plans are not secret in themselves; The Alternative for Germany party is using it to announce the European Parliament elections in the spring. However, media reports have now led to mobilization against the right and tens of thousands of demonstrators in various German cities.
What about the possible ban on the AfD?
An online petition has now been launched calling for the basic political rights of right-wing AfD politician Björn Höcke to be revoked. More than 1.2 million signatures collected. However, it is not easy to deprive someone of these rights. This has been attempted four times in the history of the Federal Republic of Germany, but has failed legally each time. Opponents of the idea fear that it will turn Hockey and the Alternative for Germany party into martyrs. In addition, opponents of the ban say the AfD needs to challenge its content. But this has so far been very difficult for other parties, especially when it comes to the issue of immigration.
What is the expected impact on the elections?
A “super-election year” is approaching in Germany: the EU elections will be held in June, and in the fall there will be elections in the eastern German states of Thuringia, Saxony and Brandenburg. According to polls, the AfD currently has up to 40% of the vote there. For this reason, the protests against the AfD are unlikely to end so quickly, and are also likely to have an impact on the content and tone of other parties. The interesting thing is: Have the fronts become more solid? What is the impact of protests on mobilization for elections? Will this make some voters more wary about voting for the AfD, and could Sahira Wagenknecht's new party benefit from this? The only thing that seems certain is that the topic will stick around.
The government supports anti-right-wing protests
Chancellor Olaf Schulz welcomed the demonstrations that took place in several places in Germany against “racism and hate speech.” “I am grateful that tens of thousands are taking to the streets across Germany these days – against racism and hate speech and for our free democracy.” The advisor wrote on the X platform. He added that it gives courage and shows: “There are many of us Democrats – much more than those who want division.”
More marches are planned, including in Frankfurt, in the coming days. Schulz himself participated in such a gathering in Potsdam last Saturday – accompanied by Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock. (Reuters)
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