400 German protesters shouting ‘refugees can stay, Nazis must go’ arrested


Berlin—Police have detained about 400 leftists who were protesting against the national convention of the populist Alternative for Germany party in Stuttgart.
German news agency dpa reported that protesters were shouting “refugees can stay, Nazis must go,” as some 2,000 party members arrived at the convention center on Saturday morning. Protesters temporarily blocked a nearby highway and burned tires on another road leading to the convention center. Some 1,000 police officers were on the scene to prevent violent clashes between far right party members and demonstrators. Alternative for Germany, or AfD, has been growing in political influence as it campaigns on an anti-refugee and anti-Islam platform.
Now polling around 14 percent, AfD is eyeing entry into the federal parliament in elections next year after a string of state election wins.
The AfD was formed only three years ago and has since gradually shifted its policies to the right, while entering half of Germany’s 16 state legislatures and the European parliament.
Having initially railed against bailouts for debt-hit eurozone economies, it has changed focus to protest against mostly-Muslim migrants and refugees, more than a million of whom sought asylum in Germany last year.—Agencies

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