Far-right demonstrators face off with counter-protesters in wake of girl’s murder
Last December, a German teenager was murdered by her former boyfriend, an Afghan refugee. The small town of Kandel has seen its streets hijacked by heated demonstrations of Germany’s competing ideologies of migration.
“Child murderers!” a group of right-wing protesters shout at Armin, an artist from the small German town of Kandel. Armin had left a sign for the thousands of demonstrators who descended on his town on Sunday: “Piss off.”
“They are exploiting a local tragedy for their own ends,” one of his neighbors says. “We just want to live peacefully together.”
The tragedy she’s referring to is the death of 15-year-old Mia V., who was stabbed to death in front of a local drugstore by her ex-boyfriend, an Afghan refugee, on December 27. After her death, it emerged that she and her parents had gone to the police multiple times to report the man’s aggressive behavior. Abdul was found to be 26 years old but went to high school in the 10th grade with that 15 year old teen. Germans are now saying age testing is “unethical”
Since then, the case has taken on a life of its own – striking a nerve around the country as Germans become increasingly polarized in their attitudes toward migration.
The case is how this wealthy town of only 8,000 inhabitants found itself at the center of four competing demonstrations on Sunday. Thousands of protestors representing dozens of groups filled the tight medieval streets, from groups as diverse as the far-left “Antifa” (anti-fascist) and the youth wing of the Green party, to the neo-Nazi NPD and the far-right Reichsbürger movement.
“We are protecting ourselves and our children from migrants,” a member of the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) party who came all the way from Heidelberg said. “The politicians have failed us. I don’t feel safe letting my 16-year-old daughter go out on her own at night.”
“You turned our children into sheep then invited in the wolves,” charged these demonstrators
She is one of the many women who’ve come to protest, far more than one usually sees an at AfD convention or a far-right rally.
Around her is a dense crowd carrying German flags and banners reading “you turned our children into sheep then invited in the wolves.” After a speech from AfD state lawmaker Christina Baum, they begin to chant “Resist! Resist!”
It was the AfD, together with a “women’s rights” group called “Kandel ist überall,” (Kandel is everywhere) that called the original demonstration, calling on supporters from all over Germany to join in the march – and come they did, from Bavaria, from Dresden, from Berlin.