Hundreds of members of the Identitarian Movement marched in Berlin, but were met by violent counter-demonstrators. The marchers were mainly young members who had gathered under the banner "Future for Europe - for the defense of our identity, culture and way of life".
German police said that the activists had assembled in a quiet part of the German capital on Saturday afternoon for a sanctioned march and they had to used force to disperse the leftists.
An estimated 1 400 violent leftists, denouncing the Identitarians as “Nazi hipsters” disrupted the march.
Police officers in armored suits had to drag away Antifa counter-protesters, using force as they blocked the route of the planned march with a sit-in.
The rest of the counter-demonstrators were hurling insults and screaming profanities.
The planned Identitarian route was from the multicultural neighborhood of Gesundbrunnen to the city’s main train station. An earlier counter-demonstration by leftists had more protesters, Deutsche Welle reported.
Despite a large security presence deployed in the German capital on Saturday, the Identitarians were blocked and outnumbered by several hundred hostile protesters from the far-left and antifascist groups who screamed “Nazis out!”
Identitarians had called on migrants who have already moved to Germany to return their countries of origin.
In Germany, members of the Movement are under observation by Germany’s domestic security service, known as the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution.
They have denied links with Nazism, saying they are not looking to glorify any particular race, but to defend the continent’s cultural identity from the onslaught of multiculturalism and jihadists.
Saturday’s march by the German chapter of the Movement was their largest public gathering so far. In August 2016 the self-proclaimed anti-jihadist movement, had draped their logo over the Brandenburg Gate. The pan-European Identitarian Movement originated in France in 2002.
They are currently running a campaign to block boats aiding human trafficking by smuggling migrants to the EU with “rescue charities” in the Mediterranean Sea from leaving port.
Despite receiving some 73 000 euros in online payments, PayPal blocked their efforts and refunded the donations earlier this week, instead of passing it on to the group.
German Justice Minister Heiko Maas expressed his rage over their anti-immigration stance: “The identitarians are not a ‘movement,’ they are an extreme, radical and racist minority.” Maas complained to the Tagesspiegel newspaper that the march had coincided with the 64th anniversary of the workers’ uprising in the former East Germany.