Saturday, May 26, 2018

German far-right party plans to drum up support by taking to Berlin’s streets Sunday

nazi fascism politics immigration xenophobia islamophobia hate racism
Alice Weidel, left, and Alexander Gauland, are parliamentary faction leaders of
the Alternative for Germany (AfD).
BERLIN—A German far-right party that swept into parliament last year on a wave of anti-migrant sentiment is staging a march Sunday through the heart of Berlin to protest against the government of Chancellor Angela Merkel, accusing it of ruining Germany by allowing the mass immigration of refugees.

Alternative for Germany, or AfD, took 12.6 per cent of the vote in September’s national election, coming third behind Merkel’s conservative Union bloc and the centre-left Social Democrats. After those two agreed to continue their governing coalition, AfD became the largest opposition party, a role that traditionally accords parties in Germany a prominent platform to promote their positions in Parliament.

AfD’s novice lawmakers have struggled to grasp basic parliamentary procedures and have stood out mainly with blunt attacks on minorities, particularly Muslims, who made up the majority of the more than one million asylum-seekers to enter Germany in 2015 and 2016. Co-leader Alice Weidel was formally censured by parliament earlier this month for describing girls who wear Islamic head scarves as “useless people.”

Sunday’s rally, starting at Berlin’s main train station and ending at the landmark Brandenburg Gate, is highly unusual for a German political party. While other parties have in recent years supported protests on a variety of issues — from animal rights to opposing free trade — AfD is the sole organizer of the march headlined “Germany’s Future.”  (more...)

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