Tens of thousands of people gathered again on Sunday across Germany to protest against the far-right party Alternative for Germany (AfD), after it came to light that party members discussed mass deportation plans at a meeting of extremists.
The influx of protesters was so large in Munich that organizers were forced to cancel a planned march and ask people to disperse for safety reasons.
Organizers said about 50,000 people had attended the rally, double the number registered. An earlier estimate, announced to the crowd, put the number at 200,000 people, according to a journalist from AFP. The police estimated an intermediate figure, around 100,000 peopleaccording to the German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung.
The protesters who went to the protest site carried banners that read “Nazis out” and “Never again is now.”
Some 250,000 people had already gathered on Saturday in cities across the country.according to calculations of the ARD.
From Friday until the weekend, demonstrations were called in a hundred locations throughout Germany, including Munich, Berlin and cities in the east of the country, where the AfD has its strongholds.
Nails 35,000 people They met peacefully in Frankfurt (south), according to the police, with the motto ‘Defending democracy – Frankfurt against the AfD and the turn to the right’and convened by an environmental organization.
At the massive demonstration, the mayor of the city, the social democrat, addressed the attendees. Mike Joseph, Anne Frank, Meron Mendelwhile other well-known figures participated in a personal capacity, such as the president of the Federal Bank, Joachim Nagel.
In Hanover (center), the police also estimated 35,000 attendees, With what, according to the organizers, it would be the most populous protest held in the history of the capital of Baja Saxony.
The authorities of Dortmund (west) counted some 30,000 protestersMeanwhile in Karlsruhe (south), they announced 20,000; and in Halle (east), 16,000.
In other urban centers such as Kassel or Gießen (both in the center of the country), the security forces reported the participation of some 12,000 protestersMeanwhile in Nuremberg (South) were at least 10,000, according to the police.
In cities like Freiburg (south), Koblenz (west) or Wuppertal (west), security forces reported the participation of about 5,000 protesters in each town.
The wave of mobilizations against the far-right party was triggered by a January 10 report from the investigative media Correctivewhich revealed that AfD members had discussed the expulsion of immigrants and “unassimilated citizens” at a meeting with extremists.
Among the participants in the conversations was Martin Sellnerleader of Austrian Identity Movementwhich subscribes to the conspiracy theory of “great replacement”according to which there is a plot of non-white immigrants to replace the “native” white population of Europe.
News of the meeting caused a stir in Germany at a time when the AfD is soaring in opinion pollsa few months before three important regional elections in eastern Germany, where his support is strongest.
The anti-immigration party confirmed the presence of its members at the meetingbut has denied assuming the “remigration” project defended by Sellner.
In Colognethe organizers estimated that 70,000 people had joined a protest in the city on Sundayor, while in Bremenlocal police said that 45,000 people had come to the center.
Politicians, religious leaders and Bundesliga football coaches have called on people to oppose the far right.
The chancellor Olaf Scholz who joined a demonstration last weekend, declared that any plan to expel immigrants or citizens alike was “an attack on our democracy and, in turn, on all of us.”
Scholz urged “All to take sides: for cohesion, for tolerance, for our democratic Germany. ”
The Minister of the Interior, Nancy Faeserhe said in the newspapers of the Funke press group that the extreme right -wing meeting remembered “the horrible Wannsee conference”where the Nazis planned the extermination of European Jews in 1942.
Protests against the extreme right could “restore confidence in democratic conduct”declared Joseph Schusterdirector of the Central Council of the Jews of Germany, to the television network Welt TV.
The country’s Jews had felt a “enormous uncertainty”aggravated by a wave of anti -Semitic incidents after the beginning of the war between Israel and Hamas, Schuster said.
The protesters met for the first time last weekend in Berlin and Potsdamwhere the extremist meeting was held, and since then they have gained rhythm.
President Frank-Walter Steinmeier He said Sunday that protesters “give us all courage.”
“They defend our Republic and our Constitution against their enemies,” Steinmeier said in a video message.
(With information from AFP and EFE)