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CRIME

Hooligans ‘attack migrants’ in Chemnitz after stabbing at city festival

Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday condemned far-right protesters who were "hunting down" foreigners in street mobs following the killing of a German man, allegedly by a Syrian and an Iraqi.

Hooligans ‘attack migrants’ in Chemnitz after stabbing at city festival
Police in Chemnitz on Sunday. Photo: DPA

The far-right movement PEGIDA called for demonstrations for a second straight day after a gathering of around 800 people in the city of Chemnitz in the country's ex-communist east degenerated into violent chaos, forcing police to call in reinforcements.

Several media outlets, including the Bild tabloid, reported that some demonstrators Sunday had shouted “we are the people”, “get lost” and “you're not welcome here” at those they took to be immigrants.

Prosecutors said Monday that police had arrested a 23-year-old Syrian man and an Iraqi man, 22, on suspicion they had stabbed to death the 35-year-old German man in an altercation in the early hours of Sunday.

“The investigation, especially into the motive, the details of the crime and the murder weapon continue,” they said in a brief statement.

In the far-right riots that followed, some protesters used bottles to attack foreign-looking people, freelance journalist Johannes Grunert, who reports frequently on the far-right scene, told Spiegel Online.

Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert stressed Berlin's strong condemnation of the violent protests.

“Such riotous assemblies, the hunting down of people who appear to be from different backgrounds or the attempt to spread hate in the streets, these have no place in our country,” he said.

Asked about an apparent call by an MP from the far-right AfD party for vigilante action, Seibert warned that it is the legal system that delivers justice in a constitutional democracy.

AfD lawmaker Markus Frohnmaier had written on Twitter: “If the state can no longer protect the citizen, then people will go on the streets and protect themselves.”

Protest, counter-protest

In the violent altercation at 3am Sunday, on the sidelines of a street festival, two other men, aged 33 and 38, were hospitalised with severe 
injuries, police said.

After the street demonstrations that followed on Sunday, Chemnitz mayor Barbara Ludwig said that “if I look at what has happened here on Sunday, I'm horrified”. 

“The fact that people can agree to meet… run through town and threaten people is bad,” she told regional broadcaster MDR.

As outrage grew over the scenes of xenophobic violence by the mostly male protesters, left-leaning activists called for a counter-protest on Monday in the city, hours before PEGIDA supporters were due to gather.

In its call for a demonstration at 6:30 pm (1630 GMT), PEGIDA's Chemnitz and West Saxony regional chapter said: “Muster strength from anger and sadness! Only together can we ensure that his death was not pointless.”

Saxony state has become a hotspot for racist hate crimes, as misgivings run deep in the region against the arrival of more than a million asylum seekers to Germany since 2015.

The state is also the birthplace of the Islamophobic PEGIDA movement, which is linked to the AfD — a party that has scooped up voters who blame Merkel for the migrant influx.

Surveys suggest the AfD is on track to become the second biggest party in Saxony when regional elections are held there next year.

Results of last year's general election showed that in Chemnitz itself the AfD has as many voters as Merkel's centre-right CDU.

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GERMAN CITIZENSHIP

TEST: Could you pass the German citizenship exam?

Obtaining German citizenship involves clearing numerous hurdles - including a multiple-choice citizenship test that will quiz you on your knowledge of German history, culture, geography and politics. Could you pass it?

TEST: Could you pass the German citizenship exam?

The German passport is one of the most powerful in the world – but getting your hands on one is no mean feat. 

Alongside strict residency and language requirements, people who want to become a naturalised German citizenship will have to sit an exam known as the Einbürgerungstest (Citizenship Test).

The exam is designed to ensure that migrants understand important aspects of Germany’s political system, like the rights enshrined in the constitution, and can deal with aspects of day to day life and culture in the Bundesrepublik.

READ ALSO: TEST: Is your German good enough for citizenship or permanent residency?

Additionally, there are usually questions on important milestones in German history such as the Second World War and the GDR, and you may encounter some geography questions and questions on the European Union as well. 

The test is in German and consists of 33 questions: 30 questions on Germany in general, and three related to the specific federal state you live in. 

It’s all in German, so people sitting the exam need to be fairly confident with their reading skills – but since it’s multiple choice, writing skills thankfully aren’t required. 

Though this may sound daunting, people are given a full hour to complete the test – and, anecdotally, most tend to finish much more quickly than that. You also only need to score 17 out of 33 (so just over 50 percent) to pass.

In addition, there are only a set number of questions that the Citizenship Test alternates between. You can find a list of all of them (in German) here, and also take a German-language practice test here.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How I got German citizenship – and how you can too

If you’d like to test your knowledge in English, however, we’ve put together a representative list of 16 questions to get you started. Viel Glück! (Good luck!) 

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