Merkel Decries Far-Right ‘Hate in the Streets’ in Germany’s Chemnitz after Stabbing Death Involving Migrants
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has issued a formal condemnation of the far-right / neo-Nazi outbursts in the city of Chemnitz in Saxony after the stabbing incident involving migrants over the weekend which caused the death of a German man later revealed to be of Cuban descent has.
On Monday, the far-right rally in Chemnitz clashed with a smaller counter-rally of leftists, with the local police exerting itself to contain the situation. Another far-right / neo-Nazi rally took place on Tuesday.
Two men, a 22-year-old Iraqi and a 23-year-old Syrian, remain in custody for the murder of the 35-year-old German – Cuban man who is rumored to have intervened to prevent the sexual harassment of a woman. Two other men were left with stabbing wounds in the skirmish early Sunday morning.
The precise circumstances that led to the death of the German man remain unclear but social media exchanges led the far right in Chemnitz to mobilize swiftly after the stabbing incident as word got out that the suspects were migrants.
“What we have seen is something which has no place in a constitutional democracy,” Merkel told journalists on Tuesday, as cited by AFP.
“We have video recordings of [people] hunting down others, of unruly assemblies, and hate in the streets, and that has nothing to do with our constitutional state,” the German Chancellor added.
Germany’s Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said federal police were ready to provide backup for overwhelmed officers in Chemnitz’s state of Saxony.
Saxony’s Interior Minister Roland Woeller revealed that hooligans from across Germany, including as far as the western states of North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony, had travelled to Chemnitz for the far-right marches.
At least 20 people were injured on Monday as fireworks and other objects were hurled by both far-right demonstrators and anti-fascist leftist counter-protesters in Germany’s Chemnitz.
The police opened investigations against protesters seen and filmed giving the illegal Nazi salute of “Heil Hitler”, and at least three foreigners were assaulted in the streets on Sunday.
“Of course, history is not repeating itself, but that a far-right mob is on a rampage in the middle of Germany and the authorities are overwhelmed, is reminiscent of the situation during the Weimar Republic,” said German publication Spiegel Online referring to the late 1920s and early 1930s which saw the rise of paramilitary groups and eventually the Nazis.
The German state of Saxony, part of the former East Germany, is also the birthplace of the anti-Islam movement PEGIDA. Xenophobic sentiment there has been heavily influenced by the German government’s decision to receive over 1 million migrants from the Middle East since 2015.
(Banner image: TV grab from YouTube)