German Establishment Call for Domestic Intelligence to Spy on Populists Following Chemnitz Protests

A delegate holds up a voting card reading 'yes' during a party congress of Germany's far-right and anti-immigration party AfD (Alternative fuer Deutschland) in Augsburg, southern Germany, on June 30, 2018. (Photo by Christof STACHE / AFP) (Photo credit should read CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP/Getty Images)

Members of the German political establishment have called for the country’s domestic intelligence agency to spy on the populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) following the recent protests in the city of Chemnitz.

Several parties have called on the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) to spy on the AfD claiming that the party is “radicalising” after cooperating with the anti-Islamisation street movement PEGIDA in organising a demonstration in Chemnitz on Saturday following the murder of a local man by a failed asylum seeker, Süddeutsche Zeitung reports.

Green party leader Annalena Baerbock claimed that by working with PEGIDA the AfD were “consciously and visibly on the open road together with offensive anti-constitutional forces”.

Thomas Strobl, a member of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU), said that “observation” of the AfD by the BfV was possible saying: “This party is developing in the direction of right-wing extremism.

“The involvement of the AfD in the proceedings in Chemnitz creates new facts, I am quite sure that these facts will feed into the assessment of the situation.”

In an interview with German media, he later added: “The AfD wants to attack our country.”

The protest on Saturday saw at least 8,000 people march to mourn local resident Daniel Hillig who had been stabbed to death, allegedly by two migrants from Iraq and Syria who were arrested in connection with the crime.

Following the leak of the arrest warrants for the two men, it was revealed that 22-year-old Iraqi Yousif A. had a history of prior criminal convictions. He was set to be deported to Bulgaria but due to the German government taking too long to facilitate his deportation, he was allowed to remain in Germany

While there were reports of violent incidents at a spontaneous protest organised by local far-right football hooligans the previous Sunday, the Saturday march saw a mostly peaceful event with some minor skirmishes on the outskirts of the demonstration, including claims of journalists being assaulted.

Not all politicians have condemned the Chemnitz protests. On Friday, Czech President Miloš Zeman expressed sympathy with those protesting migrant violence telling a Czech television channel: “Frankly, I tend to sympathise with these protesters, they actually say to ‘Mutti’ Merkel that she invited these migrants and that’s the result.”

Populist Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš also commented on the protests saying, “Chemnitz is around the corner,” if immigration is not brought under control and referred to mass illegal migration as a “threat to European civilisation”.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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