Over 100,000 people gather in Berlin for latest rally against far-right AfD party | Germany

Posted by

About 120,000 people have taken to the streets of Berlin in further protests against the far-right party Alternative for Germany (AfD).

Protests on Saturday also took place in Dresden, Hanover and other cities in a sign of growing alarm at strong public support for AfD.

Police said people had gathered at the Reichstag parliament building in Berlin, where they demonstrated under the slogan “we are the firewall” to protest against rightwing extremism and show support for democracy.

The chancellor, Olaf Scholz, wrote on X: “Whether in Eisenach, Homburg or Berlin: in small and large cities across the country, many citizens are coming together to demonstrate against forgetting, against hatred and hate speech.”

He said the protests were “a strong sign in favour of democracy and our constitution”.

AfD’s success has stoked concern among Germany’s mainstream parties, who fear it could win three state elections in eastern Germany in September, even though recent polls have shown a slight decline in AfD support.

Earlier this week, a Forsa poll showed that backing for AfD had dropped below 20% for the first time since July, with voters citing countrywide demonstrations against the far right as the most important issue.

According to the poll, AfD remained in second place behind the main opposition party, the conservative Christian Democratic Union, on 32%, while Scholz’s centre-left Social Democrats polled third at 15%.

The protests, which are now in their fourth week, followed a report last month that two senior AfD members had attended a meeting to discuss plans for the mass deportation of citizens of foreign origin. AfD has denied that the proposal represented party policy.