Far right rally against Merkel's migrant policies in Berlin

AP News
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Posted: May 07, 2016 12:44 PM
Far right rally against Merkel's migrant policies in Berlin

BERLIN (AP) — About 1,000 right-wing extremists and others protesting Chancellor Angela Merkel's refugee policies squared off with about 4,500 counter-demonstrators outside the Berlin chancellery on Saturday, chanting slogans at one another but being kept at a wide distance by police in full riot gear.

Protesters from the far-right cheered and jeered as counter-demonstrators who tried to break through the police cordon were quickly overwhelmed and dragged away by officers.

Occasional bottles and even a beer stein flew from the counter-demonstration but fell far short of the far-right march about 150 meters (yards) away, amid chants of "Nazis out."

On the other side, the right-wing demonstrators held signs with slogans like "No Islam on German Soil" and chanted "Merkel must go" while waving German flags.

About 1.1 million migrants crossed into Germany last year raising concerns nationwide about how the country would cope with the influx.

Still, the anti-Merkel rally drew only about a fifth of the numbers organizers had expected and three counter-protests drew about 7,000 people.

Police said some 1,700 officers were on hand to keep the peace at those demonstrations, and seven other unrelated protests in the capital on Saturday.

There were no immediate reports of injuries of either police or demonstrators.