Hundreds arrested in Germany clashes

Stuttgart: Police use pepper spray against protesters outside the Stuttgart Congress Centre on Saturday.—AFP
Stuttgart: Police use pepper spray against protesters outside the Stuttgart Congress Centre on Saturday.—AFP

STUTTGART: German riot police on Saturday arrested some 400 protesters as clashes erupted outside a meeting of the right-wing populist AfD party, which is set to adopt an anti-Islamic manifesto amid a rise in European anti-migrant groups.

Left-wing demonstrators burned tyres and threw firecrackers as they tried to prevent delegates of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party from getting into the congress in the western city of Stuttgart.

The AfD meeting comes a week after the far-right Freedom Party’s Norbert Hofer sent shock waves through Austria’s political establishment by winning the first round of a presidential ballot.

Heavily-armoured riot police used tear gas to hold off protesters, many dressed in black and masking their faces, as officers escorted AfD members into the congress hall.

“No rights for Nazi propaganda,” cried one group of protesters, who threw firecrackers at journalists and over 1,000 riot police battling to keep the standoff from escalating further.

The clashes delayed the opening of the congress by more than an hour.

Now polling around 14 percent, AfD is eyeing entry into the federal parliament in elections next year after a string of state election wins.

The AfD was formed only three years ago and has since gradually shifted its policies to the right, while entering half of Germany’s 16 state legislatures and the European parliament. -AFP

THE PASHTUN TIMES

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