Opponents gather to protest after German far-right party opens convention


The far-right Alternative for Germany opened a convention on Saturday after a strong performance in the recent European election, as protesters gathered outside.


Opponents held large-scale protests as the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party opened a convention on Saturday following a strong showing in the recent European elections. 

A heavy police presence was in place in the western city of Essen as AfD co-leaders Alice Weidel and Tino Chrupalla are expected to seek another term in office. 

German media report that up to 100,000 people were expected at a string of protests and other events over the weekend against the AfD.

Early on Saturday morning, a group of protesters had attempted to get through a barrier to the conference but were pushed back by police using pepper spray and batons.  

Police also say there were incidents where masked demonstrators attacked officers, leading to arrests.  

Protestors staged sit-ins on streets and crossings near the convention hall – with several AfD politicians saying they were escorted to the venue by police.  

As the meeting opened, Alice Weidel told those gathered that “what is going on out there has nothing to do with democracy.”  

Local authorities had attempted to prevent the AfD rally but lost their case in court. 

Police said around 5,000 people participated in an anti-AfD rave titled “Bass against Hatred” on Friday evening.  

AfD finished second in the recent elections for the European Parliament, taking 15.9% of the total vote. 

Their success came despite a recent series of scandals and setbacks

A particularly strong showing in the former communist eastern part of Germany has bolstered the party’s hopes of emerging as frontrunners in upcoming state elections. 

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