Hundreds of thousands of Germans took to the streets over the weekend in massive protests against the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party. The demonstrations were sparked by recent revelations that the AfD had discussed plans to carry out mass deportations of immigrants and transform Germany into an “authoritarian state”.
Leaked Document Details Chilling AfD Deportation Plans
The protests were sparked by a leaked internal AfD document uncovered by investigative journalists. The document outlined alarming plans by a faction within the AfD to deport millions of immigrants from Germany:
- AfD politicians and party staffers met in early January to discuss plans to deport all immigrants and their German-born children
- Those with German citizenship would have citizenship revoked under the plans
- Minutes from the meeting call for transformation of Germany into an “authoritarian state” to implement mass deportations
- Plan reportedly has backing of radical wing of AfD led by Björn Höcke
- If implemented, up to 15 million people could be targeted for deportation – over 15% of Germany’s population
The document sent shockwaves across Germany and evoked memories of the Nazi era. Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck called the plans “a nightmare” and warned of the AfD trying to turn Germany into a “right-wing authoritarian and unjust state”.
Huge Berlin Rally Denounces AfD As Neo-Nazis and Fascists
On Sunday, one of the largest demonstrations took place in Berlin with over 300,000 protesters. Crowds packed Berlin’s historic Brandenburg Gate, carrying signs reading “Never again” and “No place for Nazis”.
Speakers at the rally denounced the AfD as a neo-Nazi party seeking to take Germany back to its fascist past. Some protesters carried signs showing AfD leaders donning swastikas and Hitler moustaches.
- Rally organizers say over 300,000 attend Berlin protest on Sunday
- Speakers condemn AfD deportation plans as echoing Nazi-era policies
- Crowd’s chants include “Nazis out!” and “Never again!”
Berlin resident Mathias Mueller told reporters, “My grandfather survived Auschwitz. The fact that Germany seems to have forgotten where right-wing extremism can lead is unfathomable. I’m here so that history does not repeat itself.”
Nationwide Protests as Public Outrage Intensifies
The leaked document has unleashed public outrage across Germany, with large anti-AfD demonstrations taking place all week in major cities like Cologne, Frankfurt, and Hamburg.
- Organizers estimate over 1.4 million Germans participated in 170 protests over the past week
- Largest demonstrations held Sunday in Berlin, Cologne, Leipzig and Munich
- Protests remained peaceful, with heavy police presence to maintain security
- Public anger reflects concerns over rise of far-right extremism in Germany
Experts say public reaction to the AfD plan reflects growing fears that far-right extremism is once again gaining traction in Germany. “This is not the Germany we want,” said 21-year-old Munich resident Lukas Richter at a protest in that city.
Ruling Coalition Under Pressure to Ban AfD Party
In the wake of the protests, Germany’s ruling coalition government faces mounting calls to initiate legal action to ban the AfD party. The AfD is currently the largest opposition party in parliament, winning 12% of votes in the last federal election.
- Over 70% of Germans support banning AfD party according to recent poll
- Vice Chancellor Habeck warns AfD seeks to undermine German democracy
- Legal experts believe sufficient grounds exist to ban AfD as anti-constitutional
- But some warn a ban could turn AfD members into “political martyrs”
- Previous attempt to ban far-right party NPD failed over decade ago
Christian Lindner, head of the coalition Free Democrats party, cautioned that an AfD ban could turn its leaders into “political martyrs” and that it does not address the underlying issues driving its support. But the influential United Services trade union has filed formal legal complaints against the AfD to the first step towards a potential ban.
What’s Next: Early Elections, Leadership Battles, or Potential Ban
As German politicians weigh their options, public anger towards the AfD shows little sign of abating. AfD leaders have downplayed the deportation plans as the views of a radical minority faction, but the fallout continues:
- Staffer who took part in deportation meeting fired by AfD parliamentary leader
- Reports of internal splits in AfD over hardline anti-immigration stance
- Prosecutors investigating deportation plan for potential criminal violations
- Politicians calling for sanctions, funding cuts for “anti-democratic” AfD
- Talk grows of possible early elections amid turmoil
- Far-right elements could gain bigger platform if AfD is banned
While the ruling coalition has clung to power, it holds a slim majority. Vice Chancellor Habeck admitted early elections this year “cannot be fully ruled out.” As Germany continues soul-searching about a far-right resurgence, the only certainty is that the AfD protests mark a pivotal moment with global implications given parallels to political turmoil across Europe and democratic backsliding in nations like Hungary.
Supporting Tables and Data
|Estimated Protest Attendence
- 170 protests held across Germany over 7 days from January 16-22
- Total estimated attendance at protests: 1.4 million
- Largest demonstrations on Sunday, January 22nd
Polling Data on Support for AfD Ban (Forsa Institute):
|Support AfD Ban
|Oppose AfD Ban
|Under 30 Years Old
|Over 60 years old
To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.