Change from blue to brown (daily newspaper Junge Welt)

Moved to the fascists of the NPD: The Berlin MP Kay Nerstheimer

The Berlin VVN-BdA announced on Thursday about the change of an AfD member to the NPD:

The most open neo-Nazi on AfD ticket in the Berlin House of Representatives changes from blue to brown. The Berlin MP Kay Nerstheimer is now a member of the NPD. There are now two parties with neo-Nazi voters and members in the Berlin parliament. (…) Neonacite terror is fueled by both the AfD and the NPD. The heads of the Nazi arsonists in Neukölln are Sebastian Thom (NPD) and Tilo Paulenz (former Neukölln district board of the AfD). The internal committee as an institution has suffered further damage, as one has to fear that there will be additional work for militant neo-Nazis. (…) An exclusion clause, the establishment of an NSU committee of inquiry and a committee of inquiry into the Neukölln neonacite terror series would finally take into account the “Berlin consensus” of the democratic parliamentarians from the 2016 election campaign.

The organization Pro Asyl and the Berlin Refugee Council called for a deportation stop to Afghanistan on Thursday:

On Monday, November 16, after a break of several months, a collective deportation flight to Kabul will start again – in the middle of the second corona wave in Germany and Afghanistan. Since March 11, 2020, deportations have been suspended at the request of the Afghan government as a result of the corona pandemic. Now the resumption threatens. Pro Asylum and the state refugee councils are calling for the deportation plans to be stopped immediately. “The federal government must stop putting pressure on the Afghan government,” said Günter Burkhardt, managing director of Pro Asyl. (…) With every deportation, there is a risk to life and limb of those affected and the spread of the virus.

“In view of the extremely precarious security situation and the blatant pandemic situation in Afghanistan, we call on the Berlin Senate to issue an absolute ban on deportation for the country and not to take part in the collective deportation on Monday,” says Martina Mauer, employee of the Berlin Refugee Council.

In the blog »nordkiezlebt.noblogs. org «, the neighborhood of the» Liebig 34 «house project in Berlin-Friedrichshain, which was vacated on October 9, published an analysis of the media and political circumstances of the large-scale police operation. It says:

(…) We, residents and friends of the house projects, see this text as a further examination of the conditions in the Nordkiez and the role of journalism. We not only want to correct false reports, but also make it clear that this agitation takes place in the name of public reporting and that it is socially relevant. The text is not only a criticism of inflammatory journalism, but also a positioning on our part: The evacuation of Liebig 34 is an immense loss for our neighborhood! And the house projects are not only important for the neighborhood but also far beyond. We stand side by side with them against repression, police harassment and media slander.

Full text: https://kurzelinks.de/7rqu

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The NPD is back in parliament (neue-deutschland.de)

Photo: dpa / Michael Kappeler

It has been official since Wednesday: the right-wing extremist NPD is represented in a state parliament for the first time in years – of all places in Berlin, which is governed by red-red-green. Although she missed by miles in 2016 with 0.6 percent of the vote in the House of Representatives, but with the ex-AfD MP Kay Nerstheimer, who has now converted to the NPD, as it became known on Wednesday, the neo-Nazi party has a seat in parliament again. The howls of triumph among the supporters of the NPD, which in the course of the rise of the AfD became increasingly insignificant, is correspondingly great on social media.

No wonder, as Kay Nerstheimer is one of them in his mindset: In previous years he had belonged to the right-wing extremist “German Defense League” monitored by the protection of the constitution and had planned to set up a militia. He called homosexuals a “degenerate species” and refugees a “disgusting worm”. In 2016 he was elected to the House of Representatives with 26 percent of the vote via an AfD ticket – and that directly in the Hohenschönhausen constituency in the Lichtenberg district, which traditionally went to the Left Party. For the first time, the left lost just 25 percent.

So that their bourgeois facade is not damaged right from the start, Nerstheimer had to renounce membership in the AfD parliamentary group. Just a year later, his immunity was lifted and the 56-year-old was sentenced to a fine of 7,000 euros for sedition. At the beginning of 2020, the final exclusion from the AfD followed. On Wednesday, she promptly distanced herself from her former candidate. “In the alternative for Germany there is no place for the yesterday,” said a spokesman for “nd”. Anyone who thinks they are better off in the NPD has not understood the AfD’s program.

The change did not come as a complete surprise: In addition to overlapping content, Nerstheimer also sought personal proximity to the NPD. Already in January he took part in the so-called “Tuesday talk” of right-wing extremists at the Gendarmenmarkt together with the Baden-Württemberg state parliament member Wolfgang Gedeon, who was also thrown from the AfD a little later, side by side with the NPD politicians such as Udo Voigt and Andreas Käfer , guarded by neo-Nazi security, one of them wearing a «Combat18» jacket, a militant right-wing extremist organization that was recently banned. In June, Nerstheimer is said to have participated in an NPD rally in Dresden, according to the mobile advice against right-wing extremism Berlin.

What Nerstheimer gets from joining a neo-Nazi party, which is considered a heap of rubble given its desolate condition, is unclear. For the NPD itself, it is above all a PR coup. In terms of content, according to the Berliner Zeitung, Nerstheimer, who had six previous convictions among other things for dangerous bodily harm and breach of maintenance obligations, has not attracted much attention. “He does not make any speeches or parliamentary questions, besides being present he does practically nothing,” reports a scene expert who observes the AfD.

This is also confirmed by the chairwoman of the Berlin Left, Katina Schubert. He just sits there and says nothing – thank God. «The move from Nerstheimer to the NPD is no surprise to them. “I am not surprised that a fascist member of parliament changes to a fascist party,” said Schubert to “nd”. For Parliament, however, it is of course “uncomfortable” that the NPD is now represented by Nerstheimer.

For the group leader of the Greens, Antje Kapek, the presence of an NPD representative in the House of Representatives is a “horrible idea”. She finds the change from the AfD to the NPD in view of the same ideas, however, only “logically”: “This finally proves whose brainchild the AfD is,” says Kapek to “nd”. “Everyone who votes for the AfD should know that they are supporting right-wing extremists.”

Nerstheimer himself commented on his motives in detail on Wednesday in an interview with Udo Voigt on the NPD channel in a social network. There he described the AfD as a “system party” that had “left its patriotic path.” “I haven’t changed politically.” As a former soldier, he has a certain attitude towards life and his country, says Nerstheimer, and it becomes clear what he means by that, as terms like “völkisch” and “Corona terrorism against them.” Population «fall. “I’ll find that again with my comrades here.”

The mobile advice against right-wing extremism Berlin fears that the NPD could get sensitive information through Nerstheimer, after all, this is a member of the interior committee. “It cannot be ruled out that information about the right-wing scene could end up in the hands of right-wing extremists,” says Simon Brost to “nd”. The ailing NPD could also benefit financially. “With the resources of a member of parliament, right-wing extremist employees could be hired,” says Brost. Last but not least, with a mandate holder she would, above all, gain a certain degree of political agency and publicity.

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Parity law: equality slowed down (neue-deutschland.de)

It was almost a courageous step in the fight for equality: at the beginning of 2019, the coalition of the SPD and the Left Party, in cooperation with the Greens, was the first state government to pass a law according to which parties are only allowed to fill their state lists for state elections equally. With the so-called zipper principle, the alternating occupation of the list places, equal opportunities for women and men should be guaranteed for a mandate.

The law came into force on July 1st of this year. So far, it has not been used – this should happen for the first time in the state election in 2024. The corresponding law overturned the constitutional court of the state of Brandenburg on Friday. The prescribed parity has an impermissible influence on the chances of the parties in the election, it says in the judgment. Through the Parity Act, the legislature withdraws a substantial part of the democratic decision-making process by influencing the composition of the lists.

For Kathrin Dannenberg, parliamentary group leader of the Left in the state parliament, this is “a defeat, but not a knockout.” It is true that the judgment is respected that the equality of women and men in parliaments still results for the left from the democratic principle of the Basic Law. “We’re sticking to it: The voice of the Brandenburg women must have greater weight in the state parliament. Parity does not harm democracy, it strengthens it. “

The state chairwoman of the Left, Anja Mayer, also declared: »The verdict is a bitter signal for the fight for equality. In the opinion of the court, of all things, the level of political decision-makers should be exempted from regulations that ensure equality legally. «The spokeswoman for women’s and equality policy of the SPD parliamentary group, Elske Hildebrandt, spoke of the fact that equal participation of women and Men in political decisions and processes continue to be the declared aim of the SPD in Brandenburg.

The extreme right could be happy: the national associations of NPD and AfD had filed the now negotiated lawsuits against the parity law. They saw the freedom of choice and the freedom of the parties to organize seriously impaired. The plaintiffs argued that the law violates the parties’ freedom to choose their candidates on their own terms. It also discriminates against men and violates the Basic Law and the state constitution. The NPD criticized that because of the low proportion of women it had little chance of meeting the requirements. The AfD may have felt the same way. Right-wing populists have the lowest proportion of women in the state parliament, at 22 percent. Greens and leftists, on the other hand, are already implementing a quota of 50 percent – without any law. Of the total of 88 members of all parliamentary groups, one third are women.

The Young Liberals also welcomed the court’s decision. That the red-red-green alliance gave the NPD and AfD the chance to present themselves as model democrats loyal to the constitution is scandalous, according to their state chairman Matti Karstedt. One now wants to work on “constitutional solutions”.

Decision like in Thuringia

With their verdict, the constitutional judges in Potsdam made the same decision as their colleagues in Thuringia before. In July, the Constitutional Court in Weimar had already declared the state election law reformed by Red-Red-Green to be unconstitutional. It affects “the right to freedom and equality of choice” as well as the “right of political parties to freedom of activity, freedom of programs and equal opportunities.” Both rights also apply to “preparatory acts” such as listing candidates, the verdict said. It was passed with six votes to three. The only two judges in this case and one judge gave separate opinions in which they declared that the law was in conformity with the constitution.

Renate Licht and Jens Petermann decided that the »structural discrimination that actually exists against women in politics« is misunderstood. In the meantime, a complaint has been submitted to the Federal Constitutional Court. It should examine the decision from Weimar. In addition, the parliamentary groups of Left and Greens had declared that they could imagine a new attempt at a parity law. The special votes had shown the legal leeway, said the left parliamentary group leader Susanne Hennig-Wellsow after the judgment.

The chairwoman of the Brandenburg Left, Katharina Slanina, announced something similar: “In its judgment, the court has already given the first indications of necessary changes to the state constitution.” It is also assumed that the parties in the governing coalition are also interested in a speedy restart , and am available for appropriate discussions, said Slanina. Group leader Dannenberg said: “Right now we see ourselves strengthened in the fact that this area must also be examined as part of a constitutional reform.”

Nationwide initiatives

Despite legal concerns, there are also initiatives for parity laws in other federal states and at the federal level. As a list of the German Women’s Council shows, corresponding demands were made in May 2019 in all federal states except Baden-Württemberg, Hesse and Saarland. The left-wing parliamentary group in Berlin presented a draft in March 2019. A month ago, a study by the SPD-affiliated Friedrich Ebert Foundation confirmed that the project was in conformity with the constitution. The author of the study, Silke Ruth Laskowski, comes to the conclusion: “A parity amendment to the Berlin electoral law is possible and also necessary within the framework of the current constitution of Berlin and the Basic Law!” When the draft law comes to the vote in the House of Representatives, is so far unclear.

In an interview with “nd.DerTag”, the President of the German Association of Women Lawyers (DJB) Maria Wersig explained that there are other ways of combating the underrepresentation of women in addition to quoting. “One could anchor equality concepts in the party law,” she said on Wednesday. “Or expand party funding that honors the results of these efforts.”

From the DJB’s point of view, both the Thuringian and Brandenburg parity laws were constitutional. After the Potsdam judgment, Wersig was nevertheless confident: »The Brandenburg Constitutional Court today missed the opportunity to cement the milestone set by parliament for democracy and equal rights. The debate continues anyway, “she said on the short message service Twitter. “Again,” said the President of the State Parliament, Ulrike Liedtke, after the verdict.

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Marlene Grunert, Berlin

ÜHardly anyone should have been surprised on Friday. When the state constitutional court in Weimar overturned the Thuringian parity law in July, the defeat for the Brandenburg government coalition was at least foreseeable.

The Potsdam state parliament also passed a parity law last year to increase the proportion of women in parliament. It is currently 32 percent there, which is roughly the average. In the Bundestag, 30.7 percent of MPs are women during this legislative period. The new regulation, which had been enacted by the red-red coalition with the support of the Greens, obliged the parties to alternate between women and men when drawing up their national lists. The law had been in force since June 30th.

The NPD and AfD saw their constitutional rights violated and went to the state constitutional court, which now declared the provision null and void. According to the court, a legal obligation to fill state lists equally violates not only the freedom of parties, but also the equality and freedom of choice as an expression of the principle of democracy. These are the same arguments that were decisive in Thuringia.

Freedom of choice must exist in advance

The Potsdam judges made it clear that freedom of choice must be guaranteed in advance; Chances of success do not matter. This finding was particularly important for the NPD; in the state elections last year she had won 0.6 percent of the vote. The court also emphasized that the nomination of candidates in accordance with the principle of democracy is one of the fundamental tasks of parties. Its fundamental element is ultimately the formation of wills “from the bottom up”, i.e. from the people to the state organs and not the other way around. This process must remain free from state influence in terms of content. In the judgment it says: “The state organs are fundamentally prohibited from being active in relation to the process of opinion-forming and will-forming of the people – they have to remain ‘free of the state’.”

Mandatory gender parity could in fact result in the exclusion of certain applicants, according to the court. For parties with a particularly unbalanced gender ratio, this means a violation of equal opportunities.

The AfD had a female share of 17.8 percent in 2019. In the NPD, according to its own statements, it was 27 percent in 2007. There are no more recent figures. In the FDP, whose “Young Liberals” have also lodged constitutional complaints in Potsdam, but which have not yet been decided, women made up 21.6 percent of the time.

Programmatic differences are blurred

In their decision, the Brandenburg judges also emphasized what critics of legally prescribed parities repeatedly articulate: Such a duty blurs the programmatic differences between parties that are free to more or less commit themselves to the goal of promoting equality. Just as the voter is free to behave in this regard.

According to the court, the parity law also violates equality of passive voting rights. The same right of citizens to be elected, however, is one of the essential foundations of the state order. It should be understood in the sense of “strict and formal equality in admission to parliamentary elections”. The passive equality of voting rights is violated if access to certain list places for certain candidates is excluded from the outset.

What does representation mean here?

Finally, the Constitutional Court emphasized what had already had weight in the political debate about parity laws: the principle of democracy is based on the principle of total representation. MPs are not bound to one party or to a specific group, but to the whole people. This is what the Basic Law says. The decision states: “The principle of overall representation contradicts the idea that the composition of the parliament should also reflect that of the population (entitled to vote) in their diverse groups, strata or classes.” The population group can derive from the principle of democracy the claim to be represented proportionally in parliament according to their share of the population.

Proponents of parity laws have repeatedly criticized this understanding of representation as “too formalistic”. They refer to countries such as Spain, France and Italy, where statutory gender quotas have also been introduced. The Spanish Constitutional Court found the reform to be constitutional, the French and Italian judges rejected it as unconstitutional. France then changed its constitution.

That would also be necessary in Brandenburg, as the judges made clear. The Brandenburg state constitution expressly acknowledges equal rights. Linked to this is the duty to ensure equality between women and men in public life. However, electoral law reforms with such an impact on the principle of democracy require a corresponding constitutional amendment. A simple law is not enough.

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Little chance of success (daily newspaper Junge Welt)

It is important to prevent further local political posts for fascists in NRW (Essen, January 17, 2017)

Local elections will take place in North Rhine-Westphalia on September 13th. These are considered to be a political test of mood in the most populous federal state, which, with a view to the CDU’s performance, could also have an impact on the candidacy of the incumbent Prime Minister Armin Laschet for the party chairmanship. Otherwise the problems in North Rhine-Westphalia have hardly changed in recent years. They are largely of a social and labor market policy nature. The Ruhr area in particular is still suffering from de-industrialization, unemployment and old-age poverty. This is exactly what the openly fascist parties active in North Rhine-Westphalia want to tie in with, competing with the AfD for the potential of voters on the right-wing fringe.

Almost meaningless

It is true that right-wing and racist networks that are not party-bound are also at work in North Rhine-Westphalia, especially in the Düsseldorf, Essen and Mönchengladbach area. Nonetheless, the small parties that are running for elections – even in some cities and municipalities – will find it difficult to score points with average voters with crude racist agitation. This is mainly due to the fact that people in the larger cities of North Rhine-Westphalia have had experiences with non-Germans since the 1950s due to the labor migration at the time.

In the local elections in North Rhine-Westphalia, the NPD is now almost insignificant. The party itself does not seem to take this really seriously either, as the most recent entry under the heading “News” on the website of the NPD NRW comes from April 24th. At least on its Facebook page, the fascist splinter party reveals that it is running for local elections with its own candidates in Bochum, Essen, Mönchengladbach, Hückelhoven, Viersen and Heinsberg.

According to its own statements, the NPD also set up candidates in Duisburg. It is doubtful whether they even know about it. So reported the WDR on August 25th about allegations that the NPD could have forged signatures in order to get the required number of candidates together and to be able to run for the city-wide election for the City Council of Duisburg. The party even set up a man who had campaigned against the right in Duisburg in the past – he has now reported the NPD. She herself claims, however, that she did not send any “fake candidates” into the race.

Tactical cooperation

For the first election of a so-called Ruhr Parliament, also taking place on September 13th, the NPD and its competition from the fascist splinter party “Dierechte”, which is mainly active in Dortmund, joined forces to form a “National Alliance of the Ruhr Area”. With the alliance, which “is largely shaped by activists of the parties› Die Rechts ‹and NPD,” according to information from “Dierechte” from April on a website close to it, an attempt is made to “promote the solidarity of the national opposition in the Ruhr area and despite Percentage barrier to move into parliament, which has its seat in Essen «. Doubts that the tactical merger of the two micro-parties will lead to success are allowed.

Not so in Dortmund, which has been part of a kind of main field of agitation for neo-Nazis for years. Here »Dierechte« already sits in the city council and individual district councils. With Bernd Schreyner, the former Dortmund AfD district chairman, the fascists also put up their own candidate for mayor. Otherwise, Siegfried Borchardt, the former leader of the fascist hooligan group, Siegfried Borchardt, known nationwide as the “SS-Siggi”, and the incumbent councilor of “Dierechte”, Michael Brück, will run for the party.

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Visiting a Nazi


Bertram Köhler is 56 years old. He lives in Kirtorf in Hesse. For our picture he shows his toy machine gun. He stores hundreds of old NPD posters in his yard.
Image: F.A.Z. week

Bertram Köhlers Hof was once a meeting point for right-wing extremists from all over Germany. Skinheads celebrated on his meadows for years, he calls himself a “National Socialist”. Our author visited him in February 2019.

Bertram Köhler has many nicknames in his hometown. One is: “Nazi peasant”. Another: “Berti, the old Nazi”. Köhler doesn’t mind. Sometimes he even calls himself that. He has just once again caused excitement beyond the village borders of Kirtorf. He had gone to his field and had spread manure. Afterwards it was said everywhere that the dung tracks looked like a swastika. “Not true,” says Köhler. The crap looked like a wolf catch. Adjutants of the Hitler Youth bore the mark. It stands for resistance. “Was no intention,” says Koehler. But not even his own sister believes him.

Because it is not the first time that Köhler has made headlines. Skinheads celebrated for years on his farm and in his meadows. They made the village “Hessens Brauner Mitte”. The end was only when recordings of a celebration became public. That was in 2004. Back then, more than 200 neo-Nazis sang hate songs in Koehler’s stable. The police then turned Köhler’s farm upside down and the celebrations were banned. Things got quiet around Koehler and so did Kirtorf. But now suddenly the brown past of the place is remembered. Because in connection with the investigation against right-wing extremist police officers lead to the village. And at this very moment Köhler is back. He still lives on the old half-timbered farm. Some of the beams date from 1722. Köhler’s family lived here earlier in the village.

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Corona Demonstrations – How Rights Use the Corona Crisis – Politics

Right-wing radicals and right-wing extremists are trying to take advantage of the demonstrations against corona politics. According to security authorities, they are increasingly proceeding according to plan.

Right-wing extremist organizations have so far not been the focus of the corona protests. But some statements make it clear that they have made this a strategic decision. Former NPD chairman Udo Voigt, 67, showed up again on Saturday in a “No to the forced vaccination” t-shirt on Alexanderplatz in Berlin; in the background women with long hair danced to electronic music. A representative of the younger generation, 31-year-old Martin Sellner as spokesman for the extreme right-wing identity movement, had already appealed to his followers on video: “It is an imperative of the hour that all patriots without self-conception and with a certain willingness to sacrifice themselves” at least temporarily bring in the corona demonstrations. According to security authorities, they are increasingly proceeding according to plan. That was how it was observed last weekend.

Members of the neo-Nazi small party “Der III. Weg” took part in corona protests in Kaiserslautern and Plauen, among others. The neo-Nazi group “Brotherhood Germany” mingled with the demonstrators in Düsseldorf on Saturday. The small party “The Rights” took part in the corona demonstrations in Dortmund, where it was able to make up a relatively high proportion, namely 30 of around 150 participants. And for the first time, there were also two separate events of right-wing extremist organizations over the weekend, albeit with little response. So in Haiger in Hesse, where the “III. Weg” mobilized, and in Mönchengladbach, where right-wing extremist Dominik Roeseler, who sits for the group “Mönchengladbach auf” in the city council, put his rally under the motto “freedom instead of new normality” and with his appeal against the “Corona madness” attracted about 100 participants.

The President of the Federal Criminal Police Office warns of a dynamic like 2015

Efforts are also increasing in the AfD. In recent days, activists from the Junge Alternative (JA), the party’s youth association, have emerged more and more. On Saturday, the JA called for rallies against the corona measures (“for fundamental rights and politics with reason”) both in Stuttgart and in Prenzlau in Brandenburg. Demonstrations are to be held again in Stuttgart next Saturday, then with Alice Weidel, the chairman of the Bundestag faction.

In Prenzlau, the head of state Andreas Kalbitz, shot by the board of the federal party the evening before, was there. His colleague from Saxony-Anhalt, Hans-Thomas Tillschneider, held a “walk” with 30 participants against the corona measures in the city of Querfurt on Saturday.

The autonomous scene has so far distanced itself

Speaking of which: Talking about “Querfront”, as one judges it in security circles, has so far primarily acted as an attempt by rights to make itself bigger than it is. The term suggests that the left have also joined the right. So far, this has not happened in any significant number. The autonomous scene has so far distanced itself. Left or radical left groups have not mobilized to the demonstrations. The left’s parliamentary faction vice-president Andrej Hunko performed at a weekend corona demonstration in his hometown Aachen – but there was immediate harsh criticism from the party and the party leadership.

The President of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Thomas Haldenwang, had in the newspaper Welt am Sonntag warned that “extremists, especially right-wing extremists, are exploiting the demonstration.” The president of the Federal Criminal Police Office, Holger Münch, said that one was still a long way from a dynamic like the one at the beginning of the Pegida protests in Dresden in 2015. “The risk, however, that with decreasing acceptance and with a sense of threat – that was also one of the triggers in 2015/2016 – such a situation can occur,” he said.

What will the EU look like after the Corona crisis?:Readers’ discussion

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Corona demos – Right-wing extremists hijack Corona protests: “See a trend”

This weekend, too, numerous people took to the streets to demonstrate against the corona policy. There legitimate demands meet right-wing extremist ideas. Many politicians are concerned.

According to the German security authorities, right-wing extremists are trying to make use of the protests against corona requirements. “We see a trend that extremists, especially right-wing extremists, are exploiting the demonstration,” said Thomas Haldenwang, President of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, “Welt am Sonntag”.

A spokeswoman for the Federal Criminal Police Office also stressed in the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung” (FAS) that the right-wing camp was increasingly attracted to the demonstrations.

The protesters protest against the protective measures

On Saturday, thousands of people took to the streets in numerous German cities against restrictions in the Corona crisis. There were also counter demonstrations. You can see impressions of the demos in Berlin in the video above or here.

Haldenwang said right-wing extremists sought connection to bourgeois spectra and called on supporters to actively participate in the protests. “There is a risk that right-wing extremists will use their enemy images and state-destroying goals to lead the Corona demonstrations, which are currently being carried out by constitutionally loyal citizens.” The heterogeneous protest audience does not stand shoulder to shoulder. “However, we are concerned that extremists are using the current situation as well as in the so-called refugee crisis.”

The NPD and other far-right parties support the protests

According to the BKA spokeswoman, the Federal Criminal Police Office also has no information about “coordinated infiltration by right-wing extremists”. But it should be recognized that they tried to “exploit the current situation for their propaganda purposes”. According to research by the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung”, right-wing extremist parties such as The Third Way, The Right or the NPD are calling on their supporters to join the protests.

Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) told the FAS that many people were concerned about their existence. Therefore, quick action is necessary. “We are also preventing right-wing radicals and conspiracy theorists from setting the tone,” emphasized the Interior Minister. CDU General Secretary Paul Ziemiak warned that if demonstrations “are infiltrated and misused by extremists, this will endanger our society.”

Because: “The facts are so clear on the table”

Lower Saxony’s Prime Minister Stephan Weil (SPD) showed little understanding for the protests. “The facts are so clear on the table that you cannot seriously discuss whether Corona is a conspiracy,” he told “Bild am Sonntag”. “I take every political expression seriously, but in this case it is difficult for me to deal with it,” said the SPD politician.

The North Rhine-Westphalian Interior Minister Herbert Reul told the “Welt am Sonntag”: “There are a lot of wolves in sheep’s clothing trying to sneak into the middle of society with their anti-democratic slogans.”

SPD parliamentary group leader Rolf Mützenich called on citizens to distance themselves from extremists and conspiracy theorists in such demonstrations. “There should be learning processes with whom you make friends and who you don’t,” Mützenich told the newspapers of the Funke media group.

Legitimate demands and conspiracy theories collide

The chairman of the conference of interior ministers, Thuringia’s head of department Georg Maier, said: “We find that there is a certain extremist mobilization potential and the attempt to undermine the corona protests.” But there are also legitimate protests. “It is difficult to condemn all protests in bulk,” the SPD politician told the editorial network in Germany.

Several thousand people gathered again in numerous German cities on Saturday to demonstrate against the coronavirus restrictions. This time only 5,000 participants were allowed at the Cannstatter Wasen in Stuttgart. As more demonstrators came, numerous people also came together outside the designated area.

In Munich, the approved number of participants for the demonstration on the Oktoberfest site was 1,000. They protested peacefully on the cordoned-off site. A good 2,500 people had gathered next to the site. According to the police, regulations about the minimum distance were violated.

People also took to the streets in Berlin

In Berlin, the police were deployed with around 1,000 people for several demonstrations. The well-known chef Attila Hildmann held a rally at the Reichstag building, several hundred people followed his call, but only 50 participants were allowed. Hildmann was most recently noticed with the spread of conspiracy theories.

Attila Hildmann at the protest in front of the Reichstag: The vegan chef has been spreading conspiracy theories on his social media channels lately. (Source: Carsten Thesing / imago images)

Alexanderplatz and the Volksbühne, where thousands have gathered in the past few weeks, were largely closed off. There were several counter protests, but there were no major incidents. In Frankfurt am Main, the police counted around 1,500 people in demonstrations by both sides.

There were protests in numerous major cities

Demonstrations with some hundreds of participants and sometimes accompanied by counter-protests also took place in Hamburg, Cologne, Dortmund, Essen, Leipzig and Dresden.

In the Saxon capital, Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer stood up to the demonstrators for an hour and a half. He had to face numerous critical questions, some participants abused him, others paid respect to the CDU politician.

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Bavaria wants to crack down on unreasonable participants

Schleswig-Holstein’s interior minister Sabine Sütterlin-Waack (CDU) fears that the so-called fundamental rights and hygiene demonstrations against the corona containment measures could lead to new, right-wing extremist efforts. According to initial evaluations, representatives of the significantly involved protest movement “Resistance 2020” used “openly Nazi vocabulary”, the minister said on Friday in Kiel. There was a risk that “a mixture of ethnic, nationalist and racist ideas brewed there”.

Among other things, members of the right-wing extremist NPD had already organized demonstrations in the city of Neumünster, Sütterlin-Waack reported. In Schleswig-Holstein, the Office for the Protection of the Constitution is observing developments as a whole with great attention. “There are now clear signs that a new right-wing extremist ambition could arise.” The Interior Minister called on all citizens to be very attentive to the motives of the initiators of such protests. These tried to “exploit legitimate fears and democratically allowed protests for anti-constitutional goals”. For several weeks there have been protests in Germany against the measures to contain the corona pandemic. Demonstrations have also been registered this weekend. Conspiracy theory, politically extreme and esoteric positions are represented. For example, there are militant opponents of vaccination and right-wing extremists. This and the spread of conspiracy theories and misinformation about the corona pandemic on the Internet are being observed with increasing concern.

Bavaria’s interior minister Joachim Herrmann (CSU) announced a tough move against unreasonable participants in the demonstrations at the weekend. According to a message from his ministry on Friday, Herrmann warned that people should absolutely keep the minimum distances and wear a mouth-and-nose cover. At the same time, he announced a “strong police presence”. Around 70 meetings have been registered throughout Bavaria for the weekend. On Saturday at Munich’s Theresienwiese, an applicant wanted to invite 10,000 demonstrators. The district administration department only allowed 1000 for infection protection reasons.

Herrmann announced that on Saturday alone, around 900 riot police forces would be deployed in addition to the state police forces to monitor infection control measures. The police would intervene “if necessary, for example to prevent unacceptable risks of infection,” says the Interior Ministry. However, no protester is prevented from expressing his opinion if he adheres to the rule. However, inflammatory provocations and stimulating propaganda by conspiracy theorists and extremists are highly irresponsible.

The city of Stuttgart is also tightening the requirements for the demonstrations against the corona restrictions. At the rally on Saturday in the Wasen area, a maximum of 5000 participants are allowed, the city said on Friday. The assembly authority also demands 500 files, which must be covered by mouth and nose, because they always have to keep the minimum distance. Access and exit to the demo must also be equalized so that the participants do not come into direct contact. “It was a matter of balancing infection protection and freedom of assembly,” said Mayor Martin Schairer. At the last demonstration, it was found that participants were traveling on buses and trains without a prescribed mask. For this one would impose a fine of 300 euros on Saturday.

Walter-Borjans: “The actors smell their chance”

SPD chairman Norbert Walter-Borjans was concerned about the recent demonstrations against the Corona requirements. “The violent protests of the last few days are worrying,” said Walter-Borjans of the “Passauer Neue Presse” on Friday. Only a small minority is on the move, but this is not about everyday worries. “The actors sense the opportunity to weaken democracy and destabilize society.” Walter-Borjans added: “There are few, but they create uncertainty and endanger what we have all achieved together with a lot of responsibility.”

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