German Schultz says dark neo-Nazi networks are on the rise
BERLIN (Reuters) – German Chancellor Olaf Scholz expressed concern on Saturday about the rise of far-right trends in his country 79 years after the liberation of the Auschwitz extermination camp.
“New reports appear all the time: about neo-Nazis and their dark networks,” the Social Democrat said in a video-recorded speech marking the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz by Soviet forces on January 27, 1945.
“At the same time, right-wing populists are making gains on the ground, stoking fear and sowing hatred,” Schulz said, adding that this should not be accepted.
Already, protests against the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party have gained momentum following a report that two senior party members have joined a meeting to discuss plans for mass deportations of citizens of foreign origin, with demonstrations across the country taking to the streets. Their third week.
The demonstrators are looking to curb support for the Alternative for Germany party, which ranks second nationally and first in the three eastern German states that will hold elections this year.
“Democrats’ cohesion is what makes our democracy strong,” Schultz said.
He added: “Showing this confidently in front of the public – as is happening now – is a good thing.”
The Chancellor also welcomed the historic ruling to cut funding to the far-right party Die Heimat, which sparked debate over whether a similar move could be taken against the nationalist Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, referring to the decision as “very good.”
(Writing by Nettie Nostlinger; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)