Most recently, 400 people celebrated the attack on refugees at a demonstration in Sebnitz
The political gatherings organized from the right-wing scene in Germany have tripled compared to the previous year. In the first half of 2022, 35 Nazi marches were recorded nationwide. In the same period this year, there were already 110 such events.
The figures come from answers of the Federal Ministry of the Interior to a parliamentary question of the left-wing politician Petra Pau. Together with members of the Left Party, her office queries these figures on a quarterly basis. From these Bundestag printouts, the increase in “rallies conducted by right-wing extremists or dominated by right-wing extremists” can be clearly traced. According to the documents, the highest number was recorded in 2015, the year of the so-called refugee crisis, with a total of 590; by 2021, this had fallen to 91, the lowest level in ten years. In 2022, the number had then doubled again for the first time.
In this regard, Pau, also a Vice President of the German Bundestag, points to increased mobilization power following the Corona pandemic. “With the tearing down of supposed firewalls and right-wing rhetoric by Conservatives and Socialdemocrats in state parliament election campaign mode, there is currently a likelihood that these numbers will rise even further,” Pau told “nd.” To carry out this election campaign on the backs of those seeking protection is “more than negligent, it is anti-human.”
The Federal Ministry of the Interior under Nancy Faeser (Social Democratic Party of Germany, SPD) counts by far the most right-wing marches in Saxony. These had been carried out for the second quarter of this year almost all by the party Freie Sachsen – only one registration had been made by an individual. Three meetings had taken place in Thuringia, registered by the III. Weg party, the Neue Stärke party (NSP) and one individual. For Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, the statistics show two registrations by the National Democratic Party (NPD) and the NSP. Only one event each was detected by the competent authorities in North Rhine-Westphalia (NPD), Rhineland-Palatinate (Kameradschaft Rheinhessen/ Die Rechte) and Lower Saxony (Die Rechte).
A large part of the marches mentioned by the German government took place in front of refugee shelters. In Saxony, most of them were so-called “No to Homes” demonstrations. These also appear in the answers to inquiries by Paus’s parliamentary group colleague Clara Bünger – the spokeswoman on refugee policy also requests these on a quarterly basis.
Comparing these answers, it is striking: Apparently, only incidents of parties or organizations are reported that are classified as right-wing extremist by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution. Also, only events are counted “that were generally based on a supraregional and/or notable mobilization of participants.” Many right-wing protests, including in western Germany, are therefore missing from the overview. Events organized by the AfD are also completely omitted by the Faeser ministry.
As a reason for the increased number of right-wing marches, the “Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung,” which first reported on the Interior Ministry’s latest response, cites “the sharp rise in the number of asylum seekers and refugees.” The newspaper does not provide any evidence for this connection. In fact, however, the far-right occupies the topic of migration in the vast majority of its events.
Most recently, the Freie Sachsen party called for such a demonstration in Sebnitz on Monday. Around 400 people – the organizers speak of over 1000 – marched through the small town of not even 9000 inhabitants under the slogan “Stop the flood of asylum”. Other banners were inscribed with “Welcome culture for the destruction of our social system”, “Greens to the Eastern Front” or “Islam, no thanks”. This is what the Saxon Refugee Council, which observed the far-right gathering, wrote on its website. According to the report, the police were only present with about two dozen officers. A flag of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) was held at the head of the demonstration, and the supporters of the party, which received almost 40 percent of the votes in Sebnitz in the last federal election, were “greeted in a friendly manner through the microphone.” Afterwards, “Germany to the Germans” chants rang out, the Refugee Council said.
According to the report, the participants also showed sympathy for the attack on a shelter for refugees. Three weeks ago, neo-Nazis had entered the house and attacked residents. In the call for the demonstration, the organizers of the demonstration claim that the attack was invented to distract “from the actual attacks by immigrants”.
Among the refugees, the Refugee Council observed an anxious and fearful mood, some had therefore already left Sebnitz. The accommodation had not been protected by the police during the demonstration.
“Sebnitz is reminiscent of the pogroms of the 90s. Neo-Nazi violence against refugees, a citizen mob that applauds and cheers, police who are no protection and let the right-wingers. The people in the shelter have to expect further attacks. Get them out of there,” demands the interior policy spokeswoman of the Left Party in the Bundestag, Martina Renner on the Internet platform “X”.
Meanwhile, left-wing member of the Bundestag André Hahn, who maintains an office in the city, “remains convinced that the vast majority of people living in Sebnitz do not hold right-wing extremist, xenophobic or anti-Semitic positions.” As in previous protests, “apparently quite a few right-wing participants had traveled from outside,” Hahn tells “nd.” And he hopes that the “unfortunately mostly silent majority will finally raise their voices audibly, i.e. also publicly, against right-wing activities and the associated lasting damage to the reputation of their hometown”. His own office has also been the target of right-wing attacks on several occasions.
In addition to the number of right-wing marches, Left Party politician Pau also asks about right-wing rock concerts on a quarterly basis. According to the latest answer, these have declined somewhat: In the first half of the year, 71 concerts, “song evenings” and “other events with musical performances” were counted, compared to 89 in the same period last year. Here, the scene in Thuringia apparently dominates; concerts took place, for example, with the bands “Einzelkämpfer”, “Sturmrebellen”, “Heureka”, “Flak” or “Sleipnir”. On average, however, these events were only attended by less than a hundred participants, according to the current figures.
Other music events not mentioned in the answers were “conspiratorially announced or prepared,” the ministry writes. However, these are kept secret from the MPs, “since the right-wing extremist scene could draw conclusions from this about the state of knowledge of the security authorities and target their further approach accordingly.” In addition, there would otherwise be the possibility of identifying informants employed in the scene.
Published in German in „nd“.
Image: At the rally on Monday, the AfD was also welcomed by the organizers. However, the party is not mentioned in the statistics of right-wing extremist marches by the Federal Ministry of the Interior (Saxon Refugee Council).