Courtesy of the Times - irresponsible statements from some politicians causes such behaviour.
Police used water cannon and tear gas to attempt to disperse about 5,000 far-right demonstrators who gathered in Chemnitz last night, some of whom were performing Hitler salutes and chanting “foreigners out” and “we are the people”. Neo-Nazis from across Germany travelled to the eastern city, which is close to the Czech border, to join the protest after the killing of a 35-year-old German man of Cuban origin who was stabbed in a fight on Saturday night. Police have arrested one man from Syria and one from Iraq on suspicion of manslaughter. About 1,000 counter-demonstrators also gathered and the two groups hurled bottles and shot fireworks at each other. At least six people were injured.
Police admitted that they had underestimated the scale of the demonstration and did not deploy enough officers to contain the protest. They made no arrests but said today they had launched ten investigations against demonstrators who made the Hitler salute, which is a crime in Germany and carries a sentence of up to five years in prison. At a protest on Sunday evening, neo-Nazis ran through the streets chasing and kicking anyone who looked like an immigrant, eyewitnesses and media reports said. Political analysts said that they were alarmed at the speed with which Germany’s right-wing movements — neo-Nazis, football hooligans, the anti-immigrant Pegida group and Alternative for Germany (AfD) — could join forces and mobilise protesters through social media. “Nazis rehearsed civil war in Chemnitz on Monday night,” the left-wing Berlin newspaper Tageszeitung wrote. A reporter for Der Spiegel wrote: “Of course history doesn’t repeat itself but a right-wing mob rampaging in the middle of Germany and state authorities being unable to handle it reminds one to some extent of conditions in the Weimar Republic.”
A spokesman for Angela Merkel, the chancellor, yesterday condemned the violence. It has fuelled concern that public support for far-right, anti-immigrant groups is mounting after the arrival of 1.6 million refugees since 2014. “There is an unashamed upsurge in racism,” Robert Lüdecke, an analyst at the Amadeu Antonio foundation, a German civil rights group, said. ”Society has become heavily polarised. People are becoming increasingly blatant about what people they want to have in Germany and who they don’t.”
MPs from the far-right AfD, the third-biggest party in the German parliament, appeared to support vigilantism. One MP, Markus Frohnmaier, tweeted that people had a civic duty to stop “knife migration”. Another, Udo Hemmelgarn, tweeted: “The problem isn’t the peaceful protests by the brave people of Chemnitz against criminal Muslim migrants, it is the rapes and murders by illegal immigrants, migrant violence!” The unrest and failure of the police to contain it is being compared with the violence in Rostock in 1992 when a mob, applauded by thousands of residents, hurled stones and petrol bombs at an apartment block where asylum-seekers lived. “We are witnessing outbreaks of xenophobia that are shameful and disgusting for Germany especially against the background of our history,” Bild, Germany’s biggest selling tabloid newspaper, wrote in a commentary.
Chemnitz is the third-biggest city in Saxony. The AfD emerged as the biggest party in the state in the general election in September last year, taking 27 per cent of the vote, slightly more than Mrs Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union. The city was one the bases of the neo-Nazi terrorist cell National Socialist Underground that murdered ten people, most of them Turkish immigrants, between 2000 and 2007.