Several thousand participants protested against the federal government's policy at an AfD demonstration in Berlin on Saturday. The party had called for it nationwide. In the early afternoon, the demonstrators gathered on Republic Square in front of the Reichstag building and then marched through the city center. There were counter-demonstrations in several places. Nevertheless, according to the police, it remained largely peaceful until now.
At the opening rally, AfD federal chairman Tino Chrupalla spoke out against a gas price brake and for the lifting of sanctions against Russia. "End this policy of sanctions," he demanded. "The price of gas will return to normal if we get cheap gas from Russia." The federal government does not make politics for the citizens. "The Greens in particular want our country to become poor and weak," said Chrupalla to applause from the audience. "We don't have to slow down gas prices, we have to slow down the Greens."
"Federal Minister of Economics (Robert) Habeck has declared economic war on Russia," he said. In reality, Habeck is waging this war against the population. Habeck had to go, demanded the AfD chairman, whereupon numerous listeners shouted "Habeck gone".
Some demonstrators may have arrived later than expected due to train cancellations in northern Germany in the morning. However, according to estimates by the Berlin police, around 10,000 people took part in the AfD rally, significantly more than the 4000 originally registered. An AfD spokesman called the same size in the afternoon.
On the other hand, according to the police, the counter-demonstrations were smaller than expected. According to a police spokeswoman, there were almost 1,500 people in total. The organizers had registered 2,500 people for the largest counter-demonstration of the "Stand up against racism" initiative and the alliance for a cosmopolitan and tolerant Berlin.
The federal manager of "Stand up against racism", Irmgard Wurdack, estimated the participants of the joint counter-demonstration on the Reichstag meadow at up to 1000 people. With all counter-demonstrations together, however, there were significantly more.
According to the police, around 1,900 emergency services were on duty, including around 450 from Brandenburg, Saxony-Anhalt, Schleswig-Holstein and Bavaria. According to an interim conclusion from the early evening, there were hardly any incidents overall. One of the exceptions was an attack on a film team, which did not report it but wanted to continue its work.
According to an initial report by the police on Saturday evening, there were 24 arrests and 18 criminal charges, among other things, for physical harm, insult, robbery or the use of license plates from anti-constitutional organizations.
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