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24 Sep, 2017 21:44

Antifa activists protest in Germany as right-wing AfD enters parliament for 1st time (VIDEO)

Hundreds of anti-fascist activists (Antifa) gathered in Berlin on Sunday to protest the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party’s gains in the parliamentary elections, with crowds chanting “Go away,” “Nazi pigs,” and “Say it loud, say it clear, refugees are welcome here.”

READ MORE: German election results: AfD enters parliament with record-high 12.6% as Merkel’s alliance gets 33% Live updates

About 1,000 people gathered outside the Berlin Traffic Club building on Alexander Platz, Bild reports

Riot police formed a human chain to prevent protesters from getting too close to the AfD party headquarters, where members were holding a celebration party.

Bottles and stones were thrown from the crowd and some arrests were made for “minor incidents” Spiegel reports.

Overall, however, the protest was mostly peaceful. Demonstrators chanted “Entire Berlin hates the AfD” and “There is no right to Nazi propaganda.”

There were spontaneous protests against the entry of the AfD in the Bundestag in other German cities.

In Cologne, about 400 people marched through the city center. Anti-AfD protests also took place in Hamburg, 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.

READ MORE: ‘Leaked’ email alleges AfD co-chair called Merkel ‘pig & puppet,’ stirs pre-election scandal

The right-wing, anti-immigrant AfD party came in third with about 13 percent of the vote in the German election on Sunday, according to exit polls. This grants them access to the federal parliament, the Bundestag, for the first time.

Public support for AfD has grown amid mounting anti-refugee sentiment, following Angela Merkel’s open-door policy. Since 2015, when Merkel announced the decision to allow in hundreds of thousands of refugees, around one million asylum-seekers have arrived in Germany, putting a strain on its social welfare system and sparking the rise in anti-migrant sentiment, as well as opening deep rifts within German society.