German Chancellor Angela Merkel was heckled as she condemned thousands of right-wing protesters in eastern Germany, who took to the streats after the deadly stabbing of a 22-year-old German man at the hands of two Afghan nationals in the town of Chemnitz.
The German chancellor was heckled during a lively Bundestag debate by the head of the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany party (AfD), Alexander Gauland, who accused her of dividing Germany with her immigration policy, endangering peace and spreading fake news by supporting controversial evidence that far-right protesters were hounding foreigners through the streets. –Guardian
Merkel shot back, acknowledging the anger felt over the stabbing – however she said that “there is no excuse or explanation for rabble-rousing, in some cases the use of violence, Nazi slogans, hostility towards people who look different, to the owner of a Jewish restaurant, attacking police.”
She also responded to comments made by the head of Germany’s BfV domestic intelligence agency, Hans-Georg Maaßen, who criticized her spokesman for characterizing the anti-immigrant protesters as “hunting” immigrants.
Gauland accused Merkel of “spreading fake news when your spokesman spoke of ‘Hetzjagd’ (hunting),” adding “The truth is, there was no hunting down of people in Chemnitz.”
Merkel shot back: “Abstract rows about ‘Hetzjagd’ are not helpful.”
Gauland came under fire for his comments;
In an interruption to Gauland, allowed under the rules of Bundestag discourse, Martin Schulz, the former leader of the Social Democrats, referred to him as “belonging to the dungheap of German history” over what he saw as the AfD’s contribution to the spread of anti-immigrant sentiment. –Guardian
Meanwhile, Maaßen faced questioning Wednesday by Germany’s interior affairs committee over public remarks he gave to a newspaper in which he questioned the veracity of a video which allegedly depicts protesters chasing foreigners. A police report from the night in question emerged on Wednesday, claiming that “right-wing extremists” did in fact chase foreigners through the streests.
According to the document, leaked to an investigative journalism program, several officers on scene during the protest reported witnessing an increasing number of hooligans arriving in the city. At approximately 9:42 p.m., officers reported that “masked persons (right-wing) are looking for foreigners,” and that at 9:47 p.m. “20 to 30 masked persons armed with stones” were reported to be “heading towards Brühl, to the Schalom restaurant.”
As referred to by Merkel in her speech, the Jewish restaurant was attacked, a window was smashed and its owner, Uwe Dziuballa, was injured after being hit by a stone. Masked men shouted at him: “Clear out of Germany, you Jew-pig.”
The programme, Frontal 21, revealed that one of the men in the video at the centre of the controversy had worked as a security guard at a refugee shelter in Chemnitz, but that his employer, Securitas, had sacked him with immediate effect after his identity was made known to the company. The man is said to be appealing his dismissal.
On Wednesday, Wolfgang Schäuble, the president of the Bundestag, appeared on national radio to defend Merkel’s decision in the summer of 2015 to allow nearly 1 million refugees into Germany – denying that it had been a mistake, and insisting that Germany had responded to an urgent humanitarian crisis by accepting refugees who needed help.
“But what we didn’t manage well enough was to prevent the impression the whole world was under: that now everyone, anywhere, who was living somewhere worse than Germany, could come. That’s what you always have to consider in politics, the impact of your communication,” he said.