Germany is protesting against the actions of the far right. Demonstrations took place in several cities, and Chancellor Olaf Scholz even took part in one of them. This is a reaction to information that a secret meeting took place in the fall with the participation of representatives of the radical right. The issue of so-called remigration, i.e. forced deportation from Germany of people of “foreign origin”, asylum seekers and unassimilated people, was discussed there.
The meeting, which took place in a hotel in Potsdam, brings back the worst associations with the darkest times in German history. As reported by journalists from the investigative portal Correctiv, on November 25, 2023, members of Alternative for Germany met with representatives of neo-Nazis to discuss radical plans regarding migration policy.
Among the participants of the previously kept secret meeting were four AfD members, including Roland Hartwig, the closest associate of the party leader and a member of the Bundestag. The main speaker was Martin Sellner – an Austrian extremist who was banned from entering Great Britain and the United States for his views. Two CDU members and several wealthy entrepreneurs and lawyers also came to the meeting.
What was discussed was – as it was called – remigration, i.e. forced resettlement of foreigners. There were downright racist arguments that as many people of foreign origin as possible should be deported from Germany. That a new state could be created for them in northern Africa.
Reports about the meeting and the plans made during it shocked Germany. Chancellor Scholz, among others, protested. “We protect everyone. Regardless of origin or skin color. Anyone who opposes the free, democratic order should be looked at by our Office for the Protection of the Constitution and the justice system,” wrote the German Chancellor on the X website.
Olaf Scholz also added that Germany must draw conclusions from its history, because the idea of forced, mass resettlements brings to mind the Third Reich, whose actions led to the greatest crime of the 20th century – the extermination of six million Jews.
The second force in the country
– Making plans for deportation is harrowing. This is contrary to the fundamental principles of this country. Like many politicians, I categorically oppose this, says Joe Chialo, a CDU politician.
Demonstrations against the AfD and racism were organized in many German cities over the weekend. Chancellor Scholz and the foreign minister were present in Potsdam. It was repeated everywhere that the slogans proclaimed by the extreme right must not remain unanswered. – It’s obvious they’re planning something. The far right continues to grow in strength. They hope that the democratic part of society will simply look the other way. This is their strategy and we cannot agree to it, warns Luisa Neubauer, a participant in the pro-democracy demonstrations.
Alternative for Germany is the second most popular party in the country. It has long since stopped operating only on the margins of German politics and has successfully broken into the mainstream. Although elections to the Bundestag will not take place until 2025, local votes will be held in several eastern states in the fall and the AfD has a good chance of winning there. – Such political extremism, such right-wing populism, is unacceptable. I call on Social Democrats, Greens and Liberals to join the fight. We must stop the victory of the far right in Germany, appealed Friedrich Merz, leader of the CDU.
So how can we defend democracy against extremism? There are voices that the AfD should be banned, but this seems unlikely. In 2017, the Federal Constitutional Court refused to ban the openly neo-Nazi NPD because it found that the party did not pose a sufficient threat to democracy. AfD officially distances itself from the ideology of the Third Reich.
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Main photo source: Reuters