Together with the demonstrations on Friday and Saturday, the companies counted a total of 1.4 million participants. According to Campact, at least 40 rallies took place across Germany on Sunday alone, some in smaller towns. Compact board member Christoph Potts spoke of a “weekend of hope”. Top politicians from various parties supported the rallies, describing them as a strong signal against right-wing extremism and for democratic coexistence.
In Berlin, a protest on Sunday afternoon drew large crowds as the assembly area was expanded. Subway stations and bridges were closed due to overcrowding. A large demonstration in Munich was canceled in the afternoon due to security concerns as the event area was completely overrun. Police initially put the number of participants in Berlin at around 100,000.
Cologne, Bremen, Dresden
The demonstration in Cologne was also huge. Organizers said 70,000 people would participate. Between 40,000 and 50,000 people took part in Bremen, according to organizers and police. In Leipzig, organizers estimated the number of participants at more than 40,000.
In Dresden, police said the original lift route was also extended due to “a large number of participants”. A police spokesman said organizers said there were several thousand people, with 50,000. According to organizers, more than 5,000 people took part in the demonstration in Cottbus, Brandenburg.
Hundreds of thousands of people demonstrated in several German cities on Friday and Saturday. Larger rallies took place in Frankfurt am Main, Hanover and Dortmund on Saturday. On Friday evening, a demonstration in Hamburg ended prematurely due to overcrowding. The number of participants was reported to be as high as 160,000, with police saying there were more than 50,000.
Pfeifer (ORF) analyzes German protests
Andreas Feiber (ORF) analyzes the struggles against right-wing extremism in Germany.
The federal president has called for an alliance of all democrats
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier saw the rallies across Germany as a sign of strength. The demonstrators are very different people, but have one thing in common, Steinmeier explained in a video message distributed Sunday. “You are now standing up against misogyny and right-wing extremism,” Steinmeier said.
Steinmeier called for a coalition of all Democrats. The future of democracy does not depend on the loudness of its opponents, but on the strength of its defenders. “We will show that we are stronger together,” the head of state said.
Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck (Greens) saw the demonstrations as an encouraging sign for democracy. “Democracy lives from the people who stand up for it,” the Green politician said in the “Augsburger Allgemeine” (Monday edition). Federal Coordinating Commissioner Reem Alabali-Radovan described the protests as “good and important” but called for more action.
“Look for a conversation”
“We need a coalition across society,” the SPD politician, like Steinmeier, told “Zeit” (online edition). “It means more; Rather than going through the streets a few times.” Everyone should stand up for a diverse society. “It means looking for a conversation: in the club, at work, in the family and among friends. Contrary to all the racist words people say all the time, they don't mean anything.
Terrorism analyst on right-wing counter-terrorism
Extremism and radicalization researcher Julia Ebner talks about anti-right-wing protests in Germany and a possible ban on the AfD. He also talks about the dangers posed by right-wing radical parties.
Auschwitz Committee: Believed this for a long time
The International Auschwitz Committee thanked the people who protested across the country. “Holocaust survivors are grateful to all those who took to the streets these days against the hatred and lies of right-wing extremists. They see these demonstrations as a powerful symbol from the citizens and a revival of democracy, which they have long awaited,” Executive Vice President Christoph Huebner said Saturday evening.
Managers warn of loss of prosperity
There are growing warnings about the AfD's further rise from right-wing extremism and business. Joe Kaiser, chairman of the supervisory board of Siemens Energy and Daimler Trucks, called on business representatives in a Reuters interview to point out the consequences of AfD election victories: “Anyone who votes for AfD is choosing to lose the prosperity of our country. and its citizens.” The “Börsen-Zeitung” collected statements from several companies listed in the DAX leading index, in which the companies spoke out against racism, anti-Semitism and “political extremism on the right-wing fringe.”
The protests were sparked by the revelation by the Center for Corrective Research about a meeting of right-wing extremists on November 25, in which AfD politicians and individual members of the CDU and the Union for Conservative Values participated in Potsdam. Martin Zellner, the former leader of the far-right extremist identitarians in Austria, spoke about “immigration” to the crowd. When right-wing extremists use the term, they usually mean that foreign nationals should leave the country in large numbers – even if forced.