German President Joachim Gauck was got a taste of popular feeling at the weekend after he went for a walkabout in Sebnitz, Eastern Germany.
Protestors — described as “Nazis” in German media — followed the German President around Sebnitz as he visited the town shouting slogans, accusing him of being a “traitor to the people” and “politically pathetic”.
— dpa (@dpa) June 26, 2016
The gathered demonstrators who were predominantly Patriotic Europeans Against The Islamification of the Continent (PEGIDA) supporters blew whistles and shouted slogans to express their dissatisfaction with the President, and the government he stands above. Although not as prominent in the minds of PEGIDA supporters as Chancellor Angela Merkel, he has become a figurehead for the significant changes presently overtaking Germany in the wake of the migrant crisis and the developing multicultural society.
Among the protestors were various flags and banners including a German Bundesflagge defaced with the message “Welcome to Dark Germany”, and a European Union flag defaced with a red cross.
So begrüßt man im sächsischen Sebnitz übrigens den Bundespräsidenten. Was für widerliche Menschen. (Bilder: dpa) pic.twitter.com/6TlDdikrXL
— Volker Dohr (@VlkrDhr) June 26, 2016
In addition to calling the President a “traitor”, the protestors called on him to “get out” of Saxony, blew whistles in chorus and threw sweets at the president, reports Sueddeutsche Zeitung. German police responded to the threat of the president being pelted with candy and deployed tear gas against the protestors, injuring two and arresting one.
Although the protest was not officially linked with the PEGIDA organisation itself, the official Facebook page of the Dresden movement — the capital of Saxony and the founding city of PEGIDA — called the demonstration a good example of “civic virtue” and an “inspiration”.
Social Democrat party Federal Justice Minister Heiko Maas lashed out against the protest, calling it “frightening and disturbing”. he said those who took part had crossed “the criminal limits of free speech”, and consequently would have to “reckon with the consequences”, reports Die Welt.
This is not the first time the President and others have been harassed in Saxony, the most rebellious of German states. Gauck was similarly abused when he last visited the area in March, and Justice minister Maas complained of similar treatment, being met with an “aggressive mood”. State prosecutors in Saxony were moved to investigate last year after at a PEGIDA protest a gallows was seen sporting signs on the nooses suggesting they were reserved for senior German politicians.
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