BERLIN – Under the socialist control, the East German city of Chemnitz wore the name "Karl – Marx – Stadt" in homage to the Communist icon.
Over the past two days, the one city of 240,000 people has been on the news because of unrest from xenophobic groups following a very different ideology, after a 35-year-old man was fatally struck in Chemnitz on Sunday Meanwhile, a "dispute between several people of different nationalities" was called. One Syrian and one Iraqi citizen were arrested.
In the midst of protests against death, right-wing mobs chased and attacked foreigners, injuring several people. At least six others were injured Monday after right-wing groups, neo-Nazis and left-wing demonstrators gathered in the city and used fireworks and glass bottles as weapons.
The authorities said Tuesday that they had investigated 10 protesters accused of "Hitler salute" banned in Germany.
The violence took place a few weeks before the state elections in neighboring Bavaria, where the conservative Christian Social Union (CSU) was exposed to the allegations, in the hands of far-right right-wing populists, by tightening tensions between refugees and German nationals. One of the most prominent politicians of the CSU – Interior Minister Horst Seehofer – has not yet commented on the riots despite the widespread denunciation of violence from the political spectrum.
In the federal state of Saxony – where Chemnitz is located – in polls the right-wing extremist alternative for Germany (AfD) ranks second, while Merkel's ruling Christian-Conservative Union (CDU) is only five percentage points ahead. While Merkel's initial welcoming attitude to refugees did not significantly affect CDU rates in many West German states with higher migrant populations, Saxon right-wing extremists have used immigration fears more successfully.
Researchers believe that the strong performance of law populists in the country are associated with xenophobic violence, although the AfD leadership has distanced itself from the weekend incidents. For years, Saxony has been among the countries with the most violent attacks on refugees and other foreigners, with nearly 100 incidents last year, according to state security services.
The AfD has again been accused of contributing to violence on Monday One of its legislators tweeted that "people go out on the street and protect themselves" if the authorities do not.
When the local authorities tried to explain why the authorities had not prevented the violence for the second day in a row, the Federal Government strongly condemned Berlin
"In our country, there is no rule of law for such uprisings, hunting down People [who appear to be from different ethnic backgrounds] or trying to spread hatred on the street, "said Steffen Seibert, Merkel's spokesman
Saxony's Conservative Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer defended local authorities on Tuesday, but also condemned the far-right and called their" political exploitation "over the Murder of the 35-year-old "disgusting".
Foreign Minister Heiko Maas linked the events in East Germany exactly 55 years ago with the speech of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. "I have a dream". "As long as radicals are on the hunt, we still have a long way to go to make the dream of equality come true," said Maas, a member of the Social Democratic Party.