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Germany: Hamburg, Dresden protest against the far-right AfD

February 25, 2024

Weeks of protests against the Alternative for Germany party (AfD) show no signs of stopping with tens of thousands showing up to demonstrations in Hamburg and Dresden.

Thousands take to the streets in Hamburg
Protests were held in at least twelve German cities on Sunday evening, and thousands took to the streets in Hamburg, as seen hereImage: Axel Heimken/dpa/picture alliance

Tens of thousands of people took to the streets of German cities to protest against the far right on Sunday.

Protesters gathered under the motto of "We are the firewall," a reference to the general taboo against collaborating with the far right in German politics since World War II.

The biggest protest was in the northern city of Hamburg, where some 50,000 people gathered, according to organizers. Hamburg is the second-largest city in Germany.

Protests carry a banner reading "Together for democracy" in Hamburg on Sunday 25 February
Other political parties in Germany have called the AfD anti-democratic and ruled out working with themImage: Axel Heimken/dpa/picture alliance

Deichkind, a hip-hop electronic band from the northern city also played for the crowds, ending their set with the chant: "We don't want any Nazis and no AfD," referring to the far-right Alternative for Germany party (AfD).

Germany has seen a wave of demonstrations against the far right after an investigative report revealed far-right extremists met last year to discuss the deportation of millions of immigrants, or simply people with migrant backgrounds. Some members of the AfD — as well as two members of the major center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) — were present at that meeting.

Tens of thousands gather in Dresden

Some 20,000 people are also estimated to have gathered in Dresden— the capital of the eastern state of Saxony, considered one of the strongholds of far-right populism in Germany along with the other former states of the DDR.

Organizers called upon people to stand up to defend democracy.

Protesters carrying placards against Germany's AfD party in Dresden on Sunday 25 February
Many protesters have taken to calling the AfD "brown" in reference to the Nazi brownshirtsImage: Sebastian Kahnert/dpa/picture alliance

There were protests in a number of other cities near Dresden too, such as Zwickau, Bautzen, Görlitz and Meissen.

Protesters took to the streets in several other cities on Saturday, from Konstanz in the far south to Kiel in the far north. The demonstrations, which have been taking place for weeks, have drawn millions of participants since they first began in January.

The protests have also driven the government to announce further measures against the rising far right.

How is the AfD polling in Germany?

The AfD was founded as a eurosceptic party in 2013 and first entered the German Bundestag in 2017. Polling earlier this year put it in second place nationally with around 23%, far above the 10.3% it won during the last federal election in 2021.

In February, the AfD, which has sought to distance itself from the explosive news report, saw a drop in its popularity for the first time in months.

State elections later this year in the eastern states of Brandenburg, Saxony and Thuringia will be a key test of its strength. Other parties have said they would not make coalition deals with the party.

rm/ab (dpa, AFP)

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