Thousands of protesters staged a ‘mourning march’ in Chemnitz for people believed to have been killed by migrants, following the fatal stabbing of Daniel Hillig.
23-year-old Alaa S., from Syria, and 22-year-old Yousif A., from Iraq, were arrested following Mr Hillig’s death.
Revelations that the Iraqi suspect had a string of convictions for crimes including fraud, drug dealings, and serious bodily injury — which earned him a two-year suspended sentence — and was supposed to be deported sparked public outcry.
The anti-mass migration Alternative for Germany (AfD) party and the PEGIDA movement, best known for its regular street protests against ‘Islamisation’ and mass migration, staged the “mourning march” in response.
Participants carried placards bearing the names and likenesses of people believed to have been killed by migrants, including medical student Maria Ladenburger — the daughter of an EU official who was raped and drowned by Hussein Khavari.
Khavari had allegedly raped a 12-year-old girl in his native country before coming to Europe claiming to be a ‘child refugee’.
He was subsequently given a ten-year sentence for throwing a woman off a cliff in Greece, but spent only a very short time behind bars before being paroled — and promptly moved on to Germany, where he killed Miss Ladenburger.
While his true age was never determined, his father indicated that he was in his thirties.
While the ‘mourning march’ attempted to achieve a sombre and serious tone, the protests in the east German city have not been entirely frictionless.
A very large number of police officers have been deployed to keep the roughly 5,000 protesters separated from roughly 4,000 counter-protesters, and troublemakers from the extreme right and alt-left ‘anti-fascists’ have been involved in violent skirmishes.
“The situation is volatile,” Chemnitz mayor Barbara Ludwig told Sky News.
“There is also a state of emergency in the town but I’m convinced that it’ll mobilise forces as we see today that very clearly show that we won’t allow for the right and right-wing thinking to mobilise the state,” she added, in apparent reference to the counter-protesters.
Sky did also air interviews with Chemnitz residents who stressed they were not racist, only afraid of the increasing danger and criminality — and conceded that the efforts of what they call the “lying press” to push “the Nazi label” on all of them was breeding resentment.