Police dressed in heavy protective gear were seen leading far-right and far-left protestors out of chaotic scenes in the eastern Germany city after a violent clash saw citizens hurl chairs and chant “resistance” in a dangerous clash with officers.
More than 1,200 police officers were drafted in as a deadly clash between the far-right and far-left after a 35-year-old German man was butchered six days ago in an attack that sent shockwaves up and down the EU member state.
Demonstrations on both sides took place in the eastern city of Chemnitz, known as Karl-Marx-Stadt under its former Communist rule, where the deceased, known only as Daniel H, was murdered by Syrian and Iraqi suspects.
Today’s protests came after details of the shocking killing were leaked to a far-right group including the names of the suspects, according to reports from German newspapers. Leftist demonstrators waving placards with ‘Heart not Hate’ scrawled on them gathered by a bust of the socialist – the location where protestors had clashed with police days before.
Hours later, right-wingers flooded the streets to mourn the murder victim.
A supporter of the left, who refused to give her name, asked: “Who was the stabbing victim?
“He far-right is exploiting his death by saying ‘A German has been murdered’.
“But he was an anti-fascist and people outside the city don’t know that.”
German police have not released full details of the stabbing while an investigation into the leak is taking place.
Though two suspects have been detained.
Angry right-wing protesters clashed with riot police protecting migrants who were being chased by skin heads raising their arms in a Hitler-style salute, a painful reminder of Germany’s disturbing past during Nazi rule.
Officers were also seen being wrestled to the ground by members of the far-right PEGIDA group.
The same group gained details of the suspects, which raised concerns that some justice officials in the state of Saxony, where Chemnitz lies, were sympathetic to the far-right.
Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, whose centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) hold the mayor’s office in Chemnitz and helped organise the first march, said on Twitter that Germans had a special duty to stand up against any form of fascism.
He said: “When people are once again roaming our streets with the Hitler salute, our history mandates us to stand up for democracy.”
More than 1.6million asylum seekers have entered Germany from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan in four years, sparking fury among many German citizens.
Ms Merkel, who wrapped up a three-day trip to Africa this week, has to commented on the demonstrations near the Czech border.
Teenager Jona Marschler said: “People are worried.
“I don’t think things will calm down anytime soon.”
The far-right Alternative for Germany group (AfD), which says Islam is incompatible with the German constitution, entered the national parliament for first time in an election last year. It sealed third place after stealing voters from both Ms Merkel’s conservatives and the SPD.