In response to the rise of the far-right… a massive German demonstration against racism and plans to expel foreigners

Under the slogan “For Democracy and Cohesion,” about 6,000 people demonstrated in the center of the German city of Wolfsburg against the far-right.

This demonstration was called for, among other organisers, by the Volkswagen Group, whose CEO Oliver Blume said: “People are currently taking to the streets throughout Germany for democracy and freedom. For the values ​​of tolerance, human dignity, and openness to the world. Democracy and freedom cannot be taken for granted. It is up to us to defend these values.” Euronews reported.

For weeks, Germany has been witnessing large protests against right-wing extremism, especially the “Alternative for Germany” party (AfD), which is against refugees and immigrants, after the German fact-checking platform “Correctiv” revealed on January 10 that extremists held a meeting to discuss a plan aimed at a collective expulsion of some foreigners, and people of foreign origins from Germany.

The platform said that members of the AfD, neo-Nazis, and businessmen met in November 2023 in the city of Potsdam, near Berlin, to discuss a plan to expel foreigners from Germany.

This meeting sparked a wave of criticism and discontent in political circles and in the German street. German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser considered that this meeting was reminiscent of the “Wannsee Conference,” where the Nazis planned to exterminate European Jews in 1942.

Interior Minister Nancy Faeser announced that the German government wants to use all the tools of the rule of law to protect democracy. She added: “We want to dismantle these far-right networks, deprive them of funding sources, and confiscate their weapons.”

But this requires amending current laws, or enacting new laws in some areas. Most of these amendments have already been completed, says Faeser. Or they are still draft laws and require Parliament’s approval. The Minister confirms that this will happen “no doubt” soon.

A recently published study, conducted by the Competence Network Against Hate on the Internet, shows the extent of the spread of digital hate speech now. Of the 3,000 participants aged 16 and over, half said they avoid expressing themselves politically and participating in discussions because of fear. Half of the respondents said they had been insulted online at least once.

While a quarter were threatened with physical violence, and 13 percent reported being exposed to sexual violence. According to the study, people with migrant backgrounds, girls, and LGBTQ are more affected by such crimes.

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