30 years after Berlin Wall fell, dashed hopes boost far-right

Chemnitz, Germany, Aug 27 (AFP/APP):A giant Karl Marx statue towers in the east German city of Chemnitz but, 30 years after the Berlin Wall fell, another political wind is blowing here as the ex-communist city battles the image of a far-right hotbed.
Polls suggest that Sunday the region’s voters will deliver strong gains for the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD), an ideological ally of nationalist parties now ruling ex-Soviet bloc countries Poland and Hungary.
That would rattle Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition government and force the other parties to team up to form majorities.
The AfD speaks to voters like Olaf Quinger, a 62-year-old butcher who voiced his fear and anger about the arrival of more than one million migrants in recent years.
“The main problem is that people who are launching a kind of invasion of our country are being treated the same way as Germans,” he said, standing at an AfD campaign booth. “That’s a huge injustice.”
Many asylum-seekers have flashy smartphones, he said, and “very few of them are really refugees … they are here to leech off the state”.
AfD co-leader Alexander Gauland, 78 — who has labelled the Nazi era “a speck of bird-poo on German history” — last Saturday spoke in Chemnitz, Saxony state.
Outlining party policies, he demanded secure borders and immigration caps, railed against Brussels and mocked teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg.
He then complained that Saxony, whose people he said had bravely won their freedom, was now often characterised as “a right-wing extremist stronghold, a brown stain, a state trapped in the past, the embodiment of a dark Germany”.
“If you believe our politicians and media,” he told supporters, then Saxony — alongside with Poland and Hungary, which helped end the Soviet empire — are now “the hearts of darkness”.
“The truth is that Poland and Hungary — and Saxony — are the beating hearts of freedom and resistance, then and now.”

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.