Over 2,000 people gathered in the German town of Koethen on Sunday to protest the slaying of a 22 year old German man. Two Afghan suspects are in custody.
The protestors were associated with nationalist, far right groups including the Alternative for Deutschland party. CNN reports that around 500 of the protestors were affiliated with the “right wing scene” in Germany.
A speech given by David Koeckert, one of the protest’s leaders, included denunciations of an “invasion” by immigrants and likened the situation to a “war”.
“Do you want to continue to be bleating sheep or do you want to become wolves and shred them to pieces?”
Such violent rhetoric could be interpreted as calls for vigilantism and violence against foreigners, something which the far right has been accused of openly encouraging.
The slogans shouted by the protesters certainly did not help in this regard. “National Socialism now!” was among the slogans chanted at the rally.
National Socialism is another term for Nazism, and is commonly used by Neo-Nazi organizations throughout Europe and the United States.
German chancellor Angela Merkel was angered by the slogans, according to sources from the Guardian.
The chancellor’s immigration policy has become increasingly controversial in recent months, with right-wing groups across Europe making gains in various elections.
Merkel has overseen attempts to intervene in the Syrian refugee crisis. The country has struggled to assimilate hundreds of thousands of refugees, and protests have simmered over the policy since 2015.
The protests come at a particularly sensitive time, because three were implicated in another deadly fight in Chemnitz, another German town. Far right protests and demonstrations occurred there as well, some two weeks ago.
On September 9, a Jewish diner was attacked. Attacks on Jewish businesses and establishments have long been a weapon of the Neo-Nazi movement throughout the West.
The country has also seen a rise in violent crime in 2018, according to Reuters. Young, male immigrants from North Africa have been blamed for this increase, but this is largely based on hearsay rather than statistical evidence.
Furthermore, refugees from war torn nations such as Syria were actually less likely to commit crimes.
Germany is not the only country struggling with the far right. In Sweden, a political party once associated with the Neo-Nazi movement is currently polling at nearly 20 percent, according to the Independent.
Feature photo courtesy of the Associated Press.