Tens of thousands march in Berlin against rise of far right

Tens of thousands march in Berlin against rise of far right

Pınar Erdoğan - BERLIN
Tens of thousands march in Berlin against rise of far right

Hundreds of thousands of people have gathered in Berlin to protest against the rise of the far right in Germany under the theme “untailbar” (indivisible) in a bid to shed light on social issues in the face of the growing far right, which have been taking over the country’s political and social scenes. 

“Today we organized this demonstration to show that the social issues in this country cannot be blamed on migrants,” Theresa Hartman, the spokesperson of the organizers of the protest, told Hürriyet Daily News on Oct. 13 in Berlin. 

More than 1,500 different political parties, groups, unions, and non-governmental organizations gathered under the motto “for an open and free society — solidarity instead of exclusion,” marching four kilometers from Berlin’s Alexanderplatz to the Victory Column and carrying banners with “indivisible” written on them. 

According to the organizers, the number of participants of the event reached 242,000, while authorities indicated “low six-digit numbers.” 

Political parties in the Bundestag, the Social Democratic Party (SPD), Green Party (Die Grünen) and the Left Party (Die Linke) openly supported the event, while the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and Alternative for Germany (AfD) opposed to the rally. 

The march came amid critical regional elections in Germany’s southern Bavaria state on Oct. 14, as the far-right AfD is expected to enter the regional parliament for the first time with the historic fall of Christian Social Union (CSU) votes in the region. The CSU is expected to lose its majority for the first time since the 1960s, while the Greens are expected to be the second strongest party almost doubling its votes since last elections. 

The AfD has been on the rise with its anti-migrant rhetoric, strongly contesting Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition government’s “open door” policy toward migrants. They blame the presence of migrants as the primary cause of social problems in the country. 

The political switch to the right has become a major concern for left politics in Germany especially after far-right groups in the northeastern province of Chemnitz in Saxony organized mass protests in August with strong anti-migrant sentiments.