Anti radical-Islam protesters have been accused of having “misused the freedom of assembly” by gathering in Cologne over the weekend, and authorities are calling for further meetings to be banned in anticipation of plans to hold a further rally in Berlin.
An estimated 4,800 marched on Sunday in reaction to the recent sectarian violence witnessed on the streets of Germany, as Iraqi migrants from the Salafist Muslim and Kurdish communities clashed over grievances brought with them from the near-east. Despite the violence of the earlier riots by the Iraqi groups, the focus of the German government appears to be on only banning marches by the anti-Salafist or ‘Salafismus’ groups, which has angered some.
Rechtsanwalt Dubravko Mandic, German lawyer, chairman of the court of Eurosceptic party Alternative für Deutschland (Alternative for Germany, AfD), and member of Junge Alternative told Breitbart London: “The phenomenon called “Salafismus” brings together otherwise sworn enemies drawn from various soccer fan clubs. Native Germans march side by side with immigrants in the presence of a serious enemy. Thus, our government and the system parties seem to know only one enemy: the german sense of nationality.
“I am not surprised that it is the ‘hooligan’ and nationalist scene in Germany which now opposes Salafists and feels the need to show strength, when at the same moment the police and government have no answers to the growing menace from radical muslims. We, the alternative youth, are not against Islam, but we are convinced that dealing with the threats from radical islam requires politicians with patriotic attitudes. The government has no such politicians and that is why our party is the future of the this country”.
When 1,000 Kurds protested outside a mosque in Hamburg linked to pro-ISIS Salafist Muslims earlier this month a running battle lasting three days culminated in a riot from which German police recovered a firearm, meat cleavers, knives, brass knuckles, and even kebab skewers. Rioters tore up street furniture and battled with police who deployed water canon to keep the warring Salafist Muslims and Kurds apart.
Senior figures in the German law-enforcement community have reacted with concern to the riots. Rainer Wendt, of the German Police Union said: “there’s a danger that the battle in Syria spreads out and comes here, that radical groups join together against Salafists… we can’t allow a proxy war to take place in Germany”, reports theLocal.de.
The head of the Federal office for Constitutional Protection, the German security service which monitors political extremists agreed that foreign conflicts were spilling over onto the streets of Europe. He said: “the conflict in Iraq and Syria is being reflected in Germany… There’s cause for concern that violent confrontations between different extremists will escalate further on our streets”. He said by meeting this way the Hooligans had “misused the freedom of assembly”.
Despite the violence, which was described by a local police official as resembling a “civil war”, there has been scant talk of banning Salafist Muslim or Kurdish demonstrations in Germany, which have so often recently descended into violence. This contrasts with the situation around Germany’s right-wing “Hooligans against Salafism” group, which within two days of their Sunday march authorities have discussed banning.
Enthused by what they see as the success of their first march, the anti-Salafist ‘Hooligan’ group has claimed “Cologne was just the beginning” and have vowed to continue in Berlin in November, registering a march against the “Islamic State of Europe” with the police. A local interior minister told German press that the authorities “must convince the courts to forbid such demonstrations in future” and that the demonstration’s political edge was little more than a pretence, as he insisted it was no more than “a platform for violence”.