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German Police End March Envisioned as Far-Right Springboard

German Police End March Envisioned as Far-Right SpringboardGerman Police End March Envisioned as Far-Right Springboard

Police in eastern Germany brought an early close Saturday to an anti-migrant march that far-right activists hoped would launch a nationwide movement to challenge the political establishment, with the fatal stabbing of a German citizen as the catalyst.

A trio of nationalist groups held separate rallies in the city of Chemnitz over the Aug. 26 slaying for which a Syrian and an Iraqi citizen were arrested. The two largest groups also organized their first joint march, a display of unity meant to build on other protests since the killing and a potent force to take hold, AP reported.

Saxony state police cited security concerns for halting the march after more than an hour, producing screams and whistles from demonstrators as officers moved in to clear the streets but no violence or vandalism as the crowd dispersed.

The progress of the far-right march had been interrupted several times before then as counter-protesters blocked the route and the sizeable police contingent on hand rushed to keep them and the marchers apart.

Saxony police estimated the event had 4,500 participants and 4,000 counter-protesters. If attendance is any gauge, the numbers revealed a movement in an early embryonic stage at best rather than approaching a mainstream arrival that could be hastened by well-timed pushes.

The emboldened far-right activists had reason to be optimistic and local authorities to be worried after the opposing camps clashed in Chemnitz on Monday, the day after the 35-year-old German man’s death. Scenes of vigilantes chasing foreigners in the city’s streets have shocked people in other parts of Germany since then.

Police, at times, were unable to control the earlier protests and clashes.

 

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