A group of activists have gathered outside the Alternative for Germany (AfD) election party in Berlin to protest the party’s electoral gains.
The right-wing, anti-immigrant AfD party won third place with about 13 percent of the vote, in the German elections Sunday, according to exit polls. That grants them access to the federal parliament, the Bundestag, for the first time.
Crowds outside the Berlin Traffic Club building on Alexander Platz are chanting, “Go away,”“Nazi pigs,” and “Say it loud, say it clear, refugees are welcome here.” Loud booing can also be heard. Members of AfD and some supporters are inside, celebrating their victory.
The demonstrations appear peaceful at the moment. Police told Die Spiegel bottles and stones had been thrown from the crowd and that there have been occasional arrests for “minor incidents.” Riot police are at the scene and have formed a human chain to prevent protesters from getting too close to the venue.
Anti-AfD protests are also taking place in Hamburg, Cologne, Frankfurt, Munich and Düsseldorf.
“Well that’s democracy, you just have to know there are people with different opinions and this has been forgotten a bit in this democracy, that there is always another opinion,” AfD’s Beatrix von Storch told RT. “Parliament has not had real debates about huge issues as migration, as Islam, as the European Union, all of those topics have only had one answer and we are presenting a different one. Not everyone has to agree with our opinion, but everyone has just to accept that there are other opinions. They have to learn.”
Von Storch said she isn’t surprised by the result. “We knew what we were doing the last weeks, we know the polls, so it’s not coming as a surprise. It was a tough work, and of course we are very happy we have now entered the Bundestag.”
The right-wing party’s rise is said to be as a result of its anti-immigration sentiment and discontent at German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s open door policy toward refugees.
“I think it’s sad that they’re attacking us personally, so they are a threat to our health, to our person. Rather than arguing against us they are throwing stones and they are hitting us and they are fighting us. I think this is just sad.”
Merkel secured a fourth term as chancellor in the election, but said AfD’s result would require “thorough analysis” to better understand the concerns of those who voted for them.