The German far-right gathered again on Thursday night in the eastern German city of Chemnitz to protest the migration policy of Angela Merkel. Hundreds of people waving German flags began to congregate in the early evening, at the call of a local group of extreme-right called “Pro Chemnitz”.
Several hundred police officers were mobilised for the occasion, fearing similar incidents to those on previous evenings which saw “collective hunts” of foreigners in the street and clashes between left and right wing groups that left 20 people injured.
Tensions have been high in the city since the fatal stabbing of a 35-year-old German leading to the arrest of two suspects, an Iraqi and a Syrian aged 22 and 23, accused of attacking the man after a “verbal altercation”.
For several days, the police and the justice of Saxony have themselves been accused of collusion with the the far-right.
A prison guard, employed by the Saxon Ministry of Justice, was revealed on Thursday evening to have leaked the details of the arrested suspects, triggering the protests. In a statement released by his lawyer, the man, Daniel Zabel, said he wanted to ensure that “the public knows what happened,” accusing the media of “manipulating” the truth and the authorities of “lying” to the people.
He said he had photographed the arrest warrant in the prison where the main Iraqi suspect had been sent and given it to the extreme right-wing group Pro Chemnitz, who then broadcast it on social media. The document gave details of the assault – the victim was stabbed five times in the chest – as well as the identity and address of the suspect and the names of witnesses.
The extreme-right has been campaigning for months on the theme of crimes committed by foreigners in Germany, accusing Chancellor Angela Merkel of being responsible for opening the country’s doors to more than one million asylum seekers in 2015 and 2016, mainly from Syria and Iraq.
The Iraqi suspect arrived in Germany in 2015 from Iraqi Kurdistan. He had already been convicted several times for violence and drug possession. Expected to be deported, he appealed this decision and won his case in 2016, according to the German daily Bild.