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Berlin, Dom near Alexander Platz, FreeImages

New rally in Berlin to demand Merkel’s resignation

Hundreds of anti-immigration protesters marched through Berlin calling for Chancellor Angela Merkel to be removed from office. The march moved past the Kanzleramt and Reichstag, along Reinhardt and Tor Streets, before turning right into Rosenthaler Street.

Published: November 6, 2016, 9:59 am

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    On 5 November some 1 350 people took part in a protest against Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin. They were met by a counter-protest.

    People angry with Merkel’s open-door policy, gathered for a fresh rally, this time at Berlin’s central railway station demanding that she step down. According to Associated Press the demonstrators were “far-right”.

    The anti-Merkel rally was organized by an activist group called “We are for Berlin, we are for Germany” to express discontent with the Chancellor’s open door migration policy. It is the third such rally organized by this group. Two others were held in March and May, several German media outlets reported.

    About 1 350 people took part in the demonstration according to police, while AP said only “200” people attended the march. Some 3000 people had turned up for the first rally in icy cold weather.

    Der Tagesspiegel, a leftist German daily, said most of the demonstrators were from “eastern federal states”, but presented no evidence for their claim. They also quoted anonymous sources from “Berlin security authorities” on the demo stating that only “right-wing extremists attended and no civil participants”.

    “It was a mixture of refugee enemies, Pegida supporters, “Reichsbürgern”, Hooligans, Landsmannschaften [student fraternities] and ‘Identitarians’,” it said.

    The crowd waved German national flags, as well as the flags of the German empire and those of the German anti-Nazi resistance movement from World War II.

    The Antifa counter-protest “Love music. Hate fascism” and “For a united Berlin – against right wing hate!” tried to disrupt the march and held up posters reading “Berlin is better without Nazis!” On the Spree River some boats and floaters took part under the slogan “For a tolerant and open Europe!”

    According to the German media, a thousand people took part in the counter-rally.

    Police accompanied the protest through the German capital’s former Jewish district, forcibly removing a blockade staged by far-left counter-demonstrators, in order to avoid skirmishes. Some 1 700 officers were deployed to prevent possible violent clashes between participants from the different rallies.

    A Berlin police spokesman Winfrid Wenzel, called the march “relatively peaceful” apart from the attempts by Antifa protesters to break through police lines. No arrests or injuries have been reported yet.

    The protest began at the city’s main train station, where speakers criticized the government’s decision to allow large numbers of migrants into Germany. Demonstrators chanted “Merkel must go!”, and held up banners reading “We are the people!” and “The queen of smugglers. Merkel must leave.”

    The protesters reached Alexanderplatz Platz on Saturday evening. They demanded that Merkel introduce a cap on new arrivals and implement tougher security measures forthwith.

    “Merkel is destroying Germany,” one protester told an RT correspondent at the scene. “It is not acceptable that we let people in our country without correct checks. We have a situation with people arriving and it is unclear what their intensions are,” another protester commented.

    Ordinary Germans complain of rampant crime around asylum centres as well as being constantly harrassed on trains by migrants.

    Merkel has faced mounting dissent after she vowed to continue with her open door policy for refugees, maintaining that Germany is still “safe,” despite the recent spate of deadly attacks, most of which were committed by migrants. Her policy has provoked massive public outrage on social media.

    Five deadly assaults have been committed in just over a week, three by asylum seekers, two of whom are being investigated for links to Islamic State.

    Leftists complained in Der Tagesspiegel, that police had “no problem” that an AfD meeting took place in the city too. They suggested, without irony, that the police intervene to stop the meeting and called on leftists to disrupt the gathering.

    The AfD meeting was convened “to save freedom of opinion” by the magazine “Compact” and took place in a hotel on Leipziger Street in the Mitte district of Berlin on Saturday afternoon.

    Pegida founder Lutz Bachmann was said to attend from Dresden, as well as AfD federal leader André Poggenburg.

    A counter-demonstration was organised and according to leftists some 50 troublemakers showed up in front of the hotel. A left-wing extremist Antifa group had announced that it would give the conference participants “a very unpleasant reception”, with the motto: “Blocking, mobbing, protesting”.

    “Compact” is considered to be the mouthpiece of the AfD and anti-Islamist Pegida movement. On the website of the magazine it was reported that a similar meeting had previously been canceled in Cologne because of leftists protesting.

    The Antifa celebrated this as a success and had announced a repetition in Berlin, but failed in disrupting the meeting.

    karin@praag.org

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