What is this?
What other country has ever done this?
Who protests in support of the government?
An estimated 1.4 million people in Germany demonstrated against the far-right Alternative for Germany party (AfD) from Friday to Sunday, according to the organizers of the events.
From Friday through the weekend, demonstrations were called in about 100 locations across Germany. On Sunday, rallies were held in major cities such as Cologne, Munich and Berlin. Several other German cities, including Cottbus, Dresden and Chemnitz in the east, also planned to hold demonstrations.
In Berlin, around 100,000 gathered outside the Bundestag, or the lower house of parliament, according to police figures.
Police in Munich said that some 80,000 people participated in the march, while organizers put the figure at 200,000. The march had to be called off due to overcrowding and attendees were asked to disperse.
Meanwhile, in Cologne, police sources put the number of demonstrators at around 10,000.
Huge demonstrations across Germany
According to estimates by public broadcaster ARD, some 250,000 demonstrators gathered in cities across the country on Saturday, carrying signs such as “Nazis out.”
About 35,000 people gathered in Frankfurt on Saturday for a “defend democracy” march. Protesters filled the central square, where organizers planned to hold the rally, as well as a second nearby square and the streets in between. Police said the demonstration was peaceful.
On Friday, a massive rally in Hamburg had to be stopped early as far more people than expected turned out. The largest protest of its sort so far, police said there were 50,000 people and organizers put the number 80,000, pointing out that the rally was called to a close before many were able to reach it.
Police estimates of crowd sizes at other protests included: 12,000 in Kassel, 7,000 each in Dortmund and Wuppertal, 20,000 in Karlsruhe, at least 10,000 in Nuremberg, about 16,000 in Halle/Saale, 5,000 in Koblenz and several thousand in Erfurt.
Why are so many people protesting now?
The wave of mobilization against the far-right party was sparked by a January 10 report from investigative outlet Correctiv, which revealed that AfD members had met with extremists in Potsdam in November to discuss expelling immigrants and “non-assimilated citizens.” Members of the conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU), the main opposition party, were reportedly also present.
Participants in the meeting discussed “remigration,” a term often used in far-right circles as a euphemism for the expulsion of immigrants and minorities.
The government organizes pro-government protests against the alleged democratic opposition.
It’s incredible to see.