• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3
211 arrests after far-right rampage in Leipzig
A smashed-in shop window at a Turkish kebab shop. Photo: DPA

211 arrests after far-right rampage in Leipzig

AFP/The Local · 12 Jan 2016, 11:18

Published: 12 Jan 2016 08:11 GMT+01:00
Updated: 12 Jan 2016 11:18 GMT+01:00

 

German police said Tuesday they have arrested 211 far-right extremists who went on a rampage on the sidelines of a xenophobic rally in Leipzig, setting cars on fire and smashing windows.

The extremists are known to police as football hooligans, and had wrought chaos Monday at an area of the eastern city known to be left-leaning, just as thousands of far-right supporters of the anti-migrant Pegida movement were gathering at a peaceful demonstration, authorities said.

News website Spiegel Online also published a picture of a kebab shop with a smashed window.

Germany has been outraged by a rash of crime targeting women at New Year's festivities in Cologne in the west that has been blamed on migrants.

As thousands rallied to blame refugees for the violence, a group of hooligans broke away and smashed windows, burned cars and rubbish bins and shot off pyrotechnics that set a floor of a building on fire.

In return, left-wing radicals vandalised a bus that had been chartered by the hooligans, police said.

In all, 57 offences were committed that night, police said.

Germany has recorded a sharp jump in crime attributed to the far-right in tandem with the surge in asylum seeker arrivals which reached 1.1 million last year.

Police said groups linked to Cologne's extremist hooligan scene had used social media to organise gatherings in the inner city Sunday evening, and launched a spate of attacks against Pakistani, Syrian and African men.

Pegida rally peaceful

At the Pegida rally the crowd loudly vented its anger at Chancellor Angela Merkel, whom they accuse of destroying their homeland by allowing in 1.1 million asylum seekers last year.

"We are the people", "Resistance!" and "Deport them!", chanted the followers of LEGIDA, the local chapter of xenophobic group Pegida, the "Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the Occident".

A heavy police presence, with water canon at the ready, kept watch over the crowd of several thousand, and separated them from thousands of counter-demonstrators, as rain poured down.

The key theme of the LEGIDA protest was the New Year's Eve attacks in the western city of Cologne, where hundreds of women reported being groped and robbed by men described as Arabs and North Africans, in scenes that have shocked the country.

Justice Minister Heiko Maas earlier Monday warned that "those who now hound refugees - on the Internet or on the streets - have obviously just been waiting for the events of Cologne" and were now "shamelessly exploiting" the attacks.

"Refugees not welcome!" read one sign, showing a silhouette of three men armed with knives pursuing a woman, while another declared "Islam = terror".

"Since New Year's Eve, nothing is like it was," said one speaker, PEGIDA activist Tatjana Festerling, who decried the night's "sex jihad against women".

Story continues below…

"Asylum-Mummy Merkel had barely delivered her New Year's address to the people when in Cologne the first fireworks hit the cathedral and police," she said.

"Then these Muslim refugees started their wholesale terror attack against German women, against blonde, white women," she said to loud boos from the crowd.

Waving a sign declaring "State of injustice", 44-year-old demonstrator Lukas Richter said "Merkel is breaching the constitution and must go," and that "the government must close the borders and return all illegal migrants".

He charged that the New Year's Eve attacks highlighted "the violence of foreigners in Germany that has existed for years".

One sign mocked Merkel's "We can do it" motto on the refugee influx, saying "You can't even secure a train station".

SEE ALSO: Spate of racist mob attacks shocks Cologne

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Today's headlines
What are Merkel's chances for remaining Chancellor?
Photo: DPA.

She's already held the Chancellery for over a decade, but infighting with political allies as well as a rocky response to her refugee policies may put a damper on Angela Merkel's staying power.

German EU commissioner doubts Brexit will happen
EU Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger. Photo: EPA.

Germany's EU Commissioner Günther Oettinger raised doubts on Tuesday about whether Britain would leave the bloc, saying he wouldn't bet on "Brexit".

Merkel offers Russia a lifting of sanctions - if it behaves
Angela Merkel. Photo: DPA

Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday that she has "the very greatest interest in stopping sanctions" against Russia, Reuters reports.

'Idiot' youth lets regional train drive over him as dare
Photo: DPA

In a stunt police have described as "incomprehensible idiocy," a drunk young man from Munich lay down on the tracks in front of a fast-moving train and let it ride over him.

'Unfriendly' Germans make expat life harder: report
Photo: Pexels.com

Expats in Germany generally find it great for families and starting a career, but were turned off by the language barriers and "unfriendly" Germans upon arrival, according to a new report.

Is German diplomacy getting too chummy with Russia?
Russian President Vladimir Putin meeting German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier. Photo: DPA/AFP Pool.

Critics have been questioning the German Foreign Minister's recent series of comments about working closer with Russia, with some labelling the diplomat a "Russia-sympathizer".

Police investigate after mosque door is bricked shut
The bricked-up door. Photo: Facebook/Netzwerk für Flüchtlinge in Parchim.

Unknown people have bricked up the entrance to a mosque in northeastern Germany and stuck racist flyers to their masonry work.

Vice-Chancellor: TTIP trade deal is dead
Photo: DPA

Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said on Sunday that negotiations on a massive trade deal between the European Union and the United States were effectively dead in the water.

Law to force mums to give up identity of child's real father
Photo: DPA

Germany has drafted a law requiring mothers to inform their partners if their children were fathered by another man, Justice Minister Heiko Maas said on Monday.

Gallery
Germans race bulls too, but with a difference
Photo: DPA

The most important sporting events only happen every four years: the World Cup, the Olympics, and of course the Münsing ox race.

Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
National
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
National
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
National
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Culture
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Rhineland
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Culture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
Lifestyle
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Gallery
Germany's 17 Olympic gold medals in pictures
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
14 facts you never knew about the Brandenburg Gate
Society
Ten times Germans proved they really, really love beer
Sponsored Article
Jordan Pass: your ticket to the experience of a lifetime
Lifestyle
What's on in Germany: events for August 2016
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
National
Six things you need to know when moving to Germany
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
International
German scientists prove birds can sleep while flying
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Technology
London v. Berlin: Which is better for startups?
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Lifestyle
13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
Travel
Enter if you dare: Berlin's best abandoned haunts
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
Lifestyle
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
National
How to get German citizenship (or just stay forever)
Technology
Brexit will turn Berlin into 'Europe’s startup capital'
Travel
Six soothing day trips to escape the bustle of Berlin
International
'Germany needs to make UK come to its senses'
Features
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
7,431
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd