Thousands protest against far-right AfD party convention


Thousands protest against far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party convention in Essen, following the parties successful European election performance.


Thousands took to the streets of Essen in Germany’s west on Saturday to protest against the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party hosting a weekend convention.

A heavy police presence was in place in the western city of Essen as the right-wing political outfit reelected its two main figureheads — Alice Weidel and Tino Chrupalla — for another two-year term.

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.  

They also 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. 

The far-right 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

The party’s hopes of emerging as a frontrunners in the upcoming state elections has been bolstered by particularly strong support in the former communist eastern part of Germany.

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