ČT reporter Polák: Resistance to right-wing extremism is unique in German society (source: ČT24)
In Berlin, tens of thousands of people demonstrate against the extreme right. They have gathered to protest several times after the findings of an investigative group came to light that representatives of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party and other far-right associations secretly discussed last year how to deport millions of migrants from Germany, including people with German citizenship. According to the police, 150,000 people are protesting in Berlin, the organizers are talking about twice as many. The participants formed a huge human chain.
“The demonstration was called by 1,700 organizations, civic initiatives, movements, unions. There is no political party among the organizers. The main message is to put pressure on the political parties in the Bundestag to put pressure on the right-wing populist party AfD, and to show that a large part of the German public does not want far-right extremism in the public space,” reported ČT reporter Pavel Polák from Berlin.
“We want to show that we care about solidarity and that we are against discrimination,” said secondary school teacher Serkan Bingöl, who came to the demonstration with a group of refugees, according to DPA. He added that they would like German society to be diverse and not monotonous. Another of the protesters had a banner imitating the warning on cigarette packs. “Racism harms you and the people around you,” it read.
Families with children and elderly people or those who feel threatened by the extreme right came to the demonstration, which was sometimes accompanied by rain. “I’m gay. I would definitely belong to a group that would be discriminated against by the extreme right-wing scum,” said 59-year-old Armin Dötsch.
Thousands of people came to similar protests in other German cities, for example in Freiburg in the southwest of the country, according to the police, there were about 30 thousand of them. According to the organizers, the same number also arrived in Dresden.
People formed a human chain at a demonstration against the far right in Berlin
Protests against supporters of the extreme right and the anti-immigration AfD have been taking place in Germany for three weeks now, and according to Polák, they can be expected to continue in the coming weeks. Tens of thousands of people go to them, outraged by the information of the investigative company Correctiv.
According to her, last November, representatives of the extreme right met in Potsdam and there they also agreed that large numbers of people with immigrant roots should leave Germany. Among the participants in the meeting were AfD politicians, as well as several representatives of the opposition Christian Democratic Union (CDU).
The issue of migration is crucial for overburdened Germany
According to Polák, the resistance of the German public to extreme right-wing thinking is “relatively unique”. Every week, hundreds of thousands of people take to the streets in dozens of German cities. They also have support in the current government of Social Democratic Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
“Whether in Eisenach, Hamburg or Berlin: In large and small cities across the country, many citizens gathered this weekend to demonstrate against forgetting, against hatred and slander. It is a strong signal for democracy and our basic law (German institute – editor’s note),” said X Scholz on the social network.
According to Polák, the topic of migration resonated with German society all last year. “We saw it during several regional elections, where the topic of migration was one of the key and decisive topics. After eight or nine years of this migration situation, the German public is in a way tired. Cities and municipalities are overwhelmed by the fact that they have to accommodate more and more refugees,” describes Polák.
Germany accepted over a million refugees from Ukraine due to Russian aggression in Ukraine, the reporter recalled. “An additional 350,000 refugees came to Germany last year, so the German public expects the federal government to handle or respond to this issue. We witnessed that the government tightened migration policy and will tighten it,” noted Polák, adding that Berlin knows that otherwise the preferences of parties like the AfD would continue to grow.
AfD the second most popular party
She could win the elections to the state assemblies, which will be held this September in three federal states in the east of Germany, which in the past were part of the communist German Democratic Republic.
The AfD is currently the second strongest in the country behind the conservative CDU, according to polls, although the populist’s popularity has now fallen slightly in the wake of the latest scandal surrounding the Potsdam meeting. Scholz’s Social Democrats are up to third in the polls.
A survey by the INSA agency for the Sunday newspaper Bild am Sonntag, which was reported by the DPA agency on Saturday, showed that, according to 61 percent of people, democracy in Germany is in danger. According to a third of the respondents, this is not the case.