The nation of Germany is experiencing an upsurge in protests against the far-right Alternative for Germany party (AfD). These demonstrations have gained significant momentum following revelations of a meeting involving two senior AfD members in Berlin, where the proposed mass deportation of foreign citizens was discussed. Amidst the protests, banners with slogans such as “Nazis, no thank you” and “It feels like 1933, AfD ban now!” have been prominently displayed across the country, reflecting the growing discontent with the party’s anti-immigrant stance that echoes the dark era of Nazi Germany.
Why is the AfD Slammed in the Protests?
The spark that ignited the mass protests was the disclosure of an undisclosed meeting near Berlin, where a proposal to deport millions of immigrants and refugees, including those with German citizenship, was deliberated. The presence of Martin Sellner, a leader of Austria’s Identitarian Movement, at this gathering further fueled the controversy, as the movement subscribes to the “great replacement” conspiracy theory, alleging a plot by non-white migrants to supplant Europe’s “native” white population. The revelation has drawn widespread condemnation, with Interior Minister Nancy Faeser drawing chilling parallels to the Nazis’ historical Wannsee conference where the extermination of European Jews was planned.
What Explains the Rise of the AfD?
The AfD, initially established as a Eurosceptic party in 2013, made its debut in the German Bundestag in 2017. Since then, its support has experienced a considerable surge, especially in eastern Germany, where the party is leading the polls
in state elections. The party’s escalating success can be attributed to its vehement anti-refugee and anti-immigration
stance, with its popularity soaring amidst the backdrop of increased immigration and dissatisfaction with the government’s economic policies.
How Large Were the Protests?
The demonstrations have witnessed a significant turnout, with an estimated 250,000 demonstrators gathering in various cities across Germany. The sheer scale of the protests underscores the depth of public concern, as evidenced by slogans such as “Nazis out” adorning protest signs. Additionally, other major German cities, including Berlin, Munich, and Cologne, are anticipating sizeable numbers of protesters in planned demonstrations.
What Did Scholz Say about the Protests?
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has expressed solidarity with the anti-far-right protests, deeming them as a positive and just response. Furthermore, the government has passed legislation aiming to facilitate the process of gaining citizenship and lifting the ban on dual citizenship. Scholz has emphasized inclusivity, stating that individuals who have resided and contributed to Germany for extended periods belong to the nation.
In conclusion, the intensifying protests against Germany’s far-right AfD party echo a resounding rejection of its anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies. The widespread demonstrations underscore a societal stance against divisive ideologies and a demand for inclusivity and social cohesion in German society.