Following on the heels of a series of related protests in the past week, some of which turned violent, thousands of people gathered in Chemnitz (Saxony state) on the afternoon (local time) of Saturday, September 1, to participate in rival far-right and anti-fascist protests. Police were prepared for Saturday's demonstrations, having deployed over 1200 officers to maintain order. By nightfall, confrontation between rival protesting groups appeared increasingly likely, prompting police to order demonstrators to disperse, citing security concerns. Despite some resistance and several arrests, the demonstrations concluded on Saturday night without major incident.
Saturday's far-right protest was organized by the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party and the Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West (PEGIDA) movement to denounce what they claim is government inaction in response to migrant violence, after the recent alleged murder of a German man by two immigrants. Further related demonstrations remain possible in Chemnitz in the coming days. A heightened security presence and localized traffic disruptions are expected near all such demonstrations.
On Sunday, August 26, a German man was fatally stabbed in Chemnitz, and two men of Iraqi and Syrian origin were subsequently arrested for his death. AfD initially called for a "spontaneous demonstration" in Chemnitz on August 26, which drew several hundred people; by Monday, another far-right protest in Chemnitz drew an estimated 6000 people (as well as an estimated 1000 counterprotesters), and several people were reportedly injured in clashes between anti-immigration protesters and left-wing counterprotesters. Video recordings also emerged of demonstrators performing the Nazi salute, which is outlawed in Germany.
Meanwhile, reports have also surfaced since the August 26 stabbing attack in Chemnitz claiming that migrants have been assaulted in the cities of Chemnitz and Wismar, apparently in retaliation for the stabbing attack.
Individuals in Chemnitz and other affected cities are advised to monitor developments to the situation, avoid all protests and demonstrations as a precaution, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities.
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