BERLIN, Aug 28, (AFP): Germany was reeling Tuesday as xenophobia reared its head with far-right protests degenerating into attacks against foreign-looking people, adding fuel to an already explosive debate over migrants.
After Sunday’s fatal stabbing of a German man, 35, allegedly by a Syrian and an Iraqi, thousands of protesters descended on the streets of Chemnitz for two straight days, some bearing insignia of the farright AfD and neo-Nazi NPD parties.
Six people were injured on Monday as pyrotechnics and other objects were hurled by the far-right camp as well as anti-fascist counter-protesters in the east German city. Police also reported assaults by extremists against at least three foreigners on Sunday, while investigations were opened in 10 cases of the protesters performing the Hitler salute. “Of course history is not repeating itself, but that a far-right mob is on a rampage in the middle of Germany and the authorities are overwhelmed, is reminiscent of the situation during the Weimar Republic,” noted Spiegel Online.
The Weimar years were marked by the formation of paramilitary groups, such as the Sturmabteilung or SA, which eventually helped the Nazis to power. Josef Schuster, who chairs the Central Council of Jews in Germany, also voiced his alarm, saying it is “now the responsibility of citizens to counter the far-right mob”. “It must never be accepted in Germany again for people to be attacked because of their appearances or their backgrounds.” Anetta Kahane of the anti-racism Amadeu Antonio Foundation told rolling news channel NTV that people have the right to demonstrate. But he added: “What happened in Chemnitz went beyond that