Due to too many people in the streets, a demonstration against the far right was interrupted in Munich on Sunday January 21. According to the organizers, 50,000 people went to this rally against the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, twice as many as the number registered. The police, for their part, estimated the crowd at 100,000 people, according to the daily Süddeutsche Zeitung.

Gatherings were announced on Sunday in around forty German cities (Berlin, Munich, Bonn, Dresden, etc.) but also in much smaller cities. In Cologne, organizers estimated the crowd at 70,000 on Sunday, while in Bremen, local police counted 45,000 demonstrators in the center. Some 250,000 people have already taken to the streets on Saturday in dozens of cities across the country, according to public broadcaster ARD.

A mobilization of a rare scale which testifies to the shock caused by the revelation on January 10 by the German investigative media Correctiv of a meeting of extremists in Potsdam, near Berlin, where, in November, a planned expulsion massive number of foreign people or people of foreign origin was discussed.

Among the participants were a figure of the radical identity movement, the Austrian Martin Sellner, and members of the AfD. Mr. Sellner presented a project to send back to North Africa up to two million people – asylum seekers, foreigners and German citizens who would not be assimilated according to him –, says Correctiv.

This revelation shook Germany as the AfD continues to advance in the polls, a few months before three important regional elections in the east of the country where voting intentions for the far-right party are even higher than in the rest of the country. The anti-immigration movement confirmed the presence of its members at the meeting, but denied adhering to the “remigration” project led by Martin Sellner.

The Minister of the Interior, Nancy Faeser, went so far as to say in the press that this meeting was reminiscent of “the horrible Wannsee Conference”, where the Nazis planned the extermination of European Jews in 1942.

“Nazis out!”

Anti-AfD demonstrations have taken on a daily rhythm for a week. From Friday to Sunday, around a hundred rallies were planned. “Nazis out”, “no place for Nazis”, could be read on placards of demonstrators in Frankfurt, the German financial capital, where some 35,000 people demonstrated on Saturday.

Politicians, religious representatives and coaches from the Bundesliga, the German football championship, have called on the population to mobilize against this party, currently at its highest in voting intentions.

The AfD has taken advantage in recent months of the population’s feeling of dissatisfaction resulting from a new influx of migrants into the country and the ongoing quarrels between the three parties in the government coalition, against a backdrop of economic recession and high inflation. . The far-right party, which entered Parliament in 2017, has firmly established itself in second position in voting intentions (around 22%) behind the conservatives, while the government coalition of Olaf Scholz with the ecologists and the Liberals are facing record unpopularity. In its strongholds in the former GDR, the AfD even tops opinion polls with more than 30%. Six months before the European elections, several European Union countries are facing a surge from the far right, which could upset the major balances of the European Parliament.