Eighteen people were injured in rival demonstrations capping off a week marked by xenophobic protests in the eastern city of Chemnitz, prompting Germany’s foreign minister to urge Germans to “get off our sofas” and speak up against racism.
Chemnitz has been in the spotlight after violent far-right protests erupted over the fatal stabbing of a 35-year-old man, allegedly by a Syrian and an Iraqi last Sunday.
On Saturday, 8,000 people answered a joint call by far-right party AfD and Islamophobic PEGIDA street movement to descend once again on the streets of the former communist city which was in the erstwhile East Germany.
The mobilization vastly outnumbered a contingent of 3,000 counter protesters, including Green party and Social Democratic Party MPs, who had also converged to take a stand against racism.
Local police, backed up by officers from across Germany, were out in force to keep both sides from clashing.
But as the rallies cleared, scuffles took place among small groups. (AFP)