Köthen's mayor pleads for peace amid far-right push to protest in city

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Köthen's mayor pleads for peace amid far-right push to protest in city
On Monday evening, locals set down flowers and candles at a memorial near where a 22-year old man was murdered during a dispute between two groups of men. Photo: DPA

Köthen’s Social Democratic (SPD) Mayor Bernd Hauschild was shocked by calls for violence in the protests that followed a reportedly deadly dispute between two groups of men on Sunday evening.


On Monday, he again called for calm among the people of the Köthen, a city of 26,000 people in the east German state of Saxony-Anhalt, and spoke out against planned calls for the right-wing community to travel to Köthen to protest.

The Social Democrat said in an interview with ZDF's "Morgenmagazin" that he had not planned any actions against right-wing extremism, but if something happened, the people of Köthen would be prepared.

In view of the largely peaceful protests of the previous evening, Hauschild added: "Unfortunately, there were many people from the right-wing extreme there who have tried to make themselves heard in front of the Köthenians.”

He said that the violent mood in the city had been fuelled by right-wing groups that arrived on Sunday evening, responding to calls mostly on Facebook.

"Calls were made in the social media, in closed right-wing groups,” he said. “I was told that they included people who had been protesting in Chemnitz before. They are just right-wing traveling tourists."

Hauschild said on ZDF television that he was glad that the majority of people at the right-wing rally, which attracted nearly 2,500 people, were not from Köthen. He himself had taken part in a memorial service together with citizens.

SEE ALSO: Far-right march held after Köthen death as officials plead for no repeat of Chemnitz

The mayor said that the coexistence of asylum seekers and the people of Köthen is overall in a good state, and that there are disputes everywhere. Yet in the town the decentralized accommodation of refugees contributes to the fact that integration in Köthen could be better.

German media reported that the latest incident began on a playground in Köthen, where three Afghan men were arguing with a pregnant woman over who the father was of her unborn child. Two Germans then reportedly approached the group, escalating the row. 
It is unclear what exactly happened next, but according to Die Welt daily the 22-year-old died of a cerebral haemorrhage. The third Afghan was not believed to have been involved in the brawl.
Local residents and politicians on Sunday placed flowers and candles at the scene, DPA reported.

On Sunday evening, a judge issued an arrest warrant against two Afghans on suspicion of bodily injury resulting in death. According to police, the victim died of an acute heart failure; according to police, there is no connection to injuries suffered.



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