Saxony’s Minister President: ‘There was no mob in Chemnitz’

Saxony's Minister President Michael Kretschmer on Wednesday defended the work of the police during riots in Chemnitz and acknowledged they were understaffed.

Saxony's Minister President: 'There was no mob in Chemnitz'
Michael Kretschmer at the Saxony State Parliament on Wednesday. Photo: DPA

The CDU politician spoke out about the unrest in the east German town during his speech, ‘For a Democratic Society and a Strong State,’ at the Saxony state parliament on Wednesday.

He also criticized the role of the media in the reporting of the events, saying that “there was no mob, no hunt and no pogroms”.

A minute of silence was held for Daniel H., the 35-year-old who was stabbed to death on the night of Sunday, August 26th, reports BILD. Two suspects are in custody, a third man is being hunted by authorities. Riots and days of protests were sparked in Chemnitz following his death.

“What happened that night is a terrible killing offence and must be cleared up with consistency and rigour,” said Kretschmer regarding the knife attack.

On the subject of police, Kretschmer said: “It would have been better on Monday if there were 100 or 200 more police officers in the city,” reports Welt. “But those who were there ensured security.”

Investigators of the crime were working for justice, said Kretschmer, who thanked officials for their action in Chemnitz. He furthermore discussed measures being taken, such as the concept for a zero tolerance strategy, reports DPA. 

During the speech Kretschmer also called for the fight against right-wing extremist tendencies to be stepped-up, reports Spiegel.

He said: “I am convinced that right-wing extremism is the greatest threat to our democracy. So far, it has not been possible to definitively put right-wing extremism in Saxony in its place. 

Kretschmer expressed criticism over the reporting of the incidents.

“There was no mob, no hunt and no pogroms,” he said, questioning reports that groups of far-right extremists had hunted people with a migrant background through the city.

He also raised concern about other reports or comments online.

“It's not okay for those who are far away to make a particularly hard and blanket judgment on the city of Chemnitz,” he said.

SEE ALSO: Merkel: 'Far-right protestors and neo-nazis do not stand for Chemnitz or Saxony.'

Previously, videos had been posted on the Internet that showed how several men ran after people who looked foreign. Many media organizations referenced the videos and used words like “mob”.

Chancellor Angela Merkel had said after the events, in late August, that the video footage had showed hunts.

“We have video recordings of [people] hunting down others, of unruly assemblies, and hate in the streets, and that has nothing to do with our constitutional state,” she said.

The Attorney General's Office in Dresden announced a few days ago that the evaluation of the videos was not yet completed, DPA reports.

However, a spokesman said: “In the part we have already seen, there was no evidence to suggest that such hunts could have happened.”

Merkel's government spokesman Steffen Seibert then added, “But the filming does show how people of foreign descent were subsequently repressed and how they were threatened.”



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Saxony’s Covid rules get mixed reaction from the vaccine hesitant

The eastern German state of Saxony may have ordered tough restrictions on the unvaccinated to push them to get the Covid-19 jab, but shop assistant Sabine Lonnatzsch, 59, is unmoved.

People queue at a vaccination centre in Radeberg, eastern Germany, to get a Covid vaccination without an appointment, on November 8th.
People queue at a vaccination centre in Radeberg, eastern Germany, to get a Covid vaccination without an appointment, on November 8th. Photo: TOBIAS SCHWARZ / AFP

The new rules are “discriminatory” because they are “pushing the unvaccinated further into a corner,” she says. 

Lonnatzsch won’t change her mind about getting inoculated – she just won’t go to restaurants or events anymore.

“I’ve had corona cases in my family and in my eyes it is nothing more than a bad flu,” she says.

With Covid-19 infections rocketing in Germany, Saxony this week became the first to largely exclude unvaccinated people from indoor dining, cinemas and bars.

READ ALSO: Germany divided over Covid restrictions for the unvaccinated 

The new rules, likely to be emulated by other states in the coming weeks, are designed not only to reduce the spread of Covid-19 but also to encourage more people to get inoculated.

But Lonnatzsch is not the only one resisting the jab in the town of Radeberg in Bautzen district, which has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country at just 45.7 percent.

The clothing store No 1 Mode where she works has a sign in the window that lets customers know that all are welcome – regardless of vaccination status.

‘Bad for business’

Across the town square, the co-owner of Cafe Roethig also has no plans to get the vaccine. Like many people in the region, Carola Roethig, 58, is “not convinced” by the jab because “it was developed in such a short space of time”.

The district of Bautzen has one of the highest incidence rates in the country at 645.3 cases per 100,000 people, but Roethig is not worried about catching the virus.

People queue at a vaccination centre in Radeberg, Saxony.
People queue at a vaccination centre in Radeberg, Saxony. Photo: TOBIAS SCHWARZ / AFP

The new rules are “definitely bad for business,” she says at the cafe’s bakery counter, which is lined with untouched fresh cakes, tarts and iced donuts.

“Many of our customers are not vaccinated, so we are losing income, because fewer people are coming in,” she says.


The rules are also bad for her personal life.

“I’m not allowed to go to a restaurant in the evening and have a nice dinner with my husband. I don’t think it is right,” says Roethig.

Outside the cafe, 40-year-old Susan feels the same.

“Nothing would convince me” to get the jab, she says, without giving her last name.

“I see no sense in it because (vaccinated people) can still get the disease and infect others.”

Vaccine push

The new rules come as new infections surge in Germany, with the national incidence rate reaching 213.7 cases per 100,000 people over the past seven
days on Tuesday – a record since the pandemic began.

The political parties looking to form a coalition government after September’s election have so far ruled out compulsory vaccinations and general
lockdowns to tackle the surge.

But with just 67 percent of the population fully jabbed, ministers say encouraging more people to get vaccinated is key to bringing the numbers down.

Outside Radeberg town hall, a modest queue of people formed for a vaccination event organised to encourage more people to get the jab.

Kitchen assistant Mirmirza Kabirzada, 36, had previously hesitated because “I heard that many people died in Norway and others got a fever, so I was a little bit afraid”.

But with the numbers rising so dramatically, “now I realised this is very important,” he says.

AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine has been linked to very rare and potentially fatal blood clots, but experts agree that the benefits far outweigh the risks.

Intensive care nurse Nicole Wieberneit, 39, is waiting in line to get her booster.

She is optimistic that the new rules will encourage more people to get vaccinated.

“When it becomes about the freedom to travel, to go out to eat, I think more people will come forward. Freedom is very important to people in Saxony,” she says.