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AfD shows its true colors

Germany
07.10.2015
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Germany braces for mass protest against loosening of asylum laws
A German eurosceptic party has scheduled a demonstration in the central city of Erfurt for later Wednesday to protest the government's policy of liberalizing asylum laws amid a flood of migrants, many of them refugees from war zones.
GALLERY
Berlin (dpa) - No projected turnout has been made for the 7 pm (1700 GMT) demonstration organized by the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party. However, various neo-Nazi groups have indicated they plan to participate.

The AfD was formed in 2013, primarily as a grouping of people concerned about the future of the eurozone. It went on to nearly gain entry to the German legislature that year and enjoyed a victory in European Parliament elections in 2014.

However, competing wings of the party had a falling out this year, leaving founder Bernd Luecke to break away with his eurozone-sceptic backers, leaving a rump where many members were more focused on immigration policy.

The rally comes as the most recent polling data from Forsa shows the group‘s popularity at 7 per cent, a jump of two points in a week. The poll, published by the magazine Stern and broadcaster RTL, also showed Chancellor Angela Merkel‘s Christian Democrat party dropping below 40 per cent, to 39 per cent.

Merkel has linked herself closely to Germany‘s policy of relaxed asylum laws amid a surge in immigrants, many of them refugees fleeing wars in places like Syria and Afghanistan.

Although many Germans backed the stance when it was announced last month, support has wobbled in recent weeks as the number of incoming people has grown steadily, with some projections stating 1 million or more might enter this year.

Concerns about the arrival of so many foreigners has also grown amid reports about violence at many of the centres housing the refugees. On Tuesday alone, two large brawls were reported.

One, in Hamburg, involved a group of 30 Albanians and Afghans and grew out of a fight between two individuals. Five injuries were reported and three were detained.

Separately, in the central city of Braunschweig, 60 police officers had to be called in to break up a fight involving between 300 and 400 people, apparently sparked by allegations of stolen property. One arrest was reported.

Many Germans have also reacted with violence against the growing number of refugees, with a regular wave of reported attacks against facilities built or repurposed to house the migrants. Police in the eastern city of Dresden reported the most recent attempted arson attack, this time upon an empty building near a school that was being renovated to house refugees.

Police reported damage, but said the arsonists failed to set the building on fire.

 

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