Europe

Berlin far-right supporters outnumbered by counter-protest

A protester waves the German flag during the right-wing AfD Alternative for Germany political party demonstration titled "Future Germany" on May 27, 2018 in Berlin, Germany. Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption AfD supporters waved German flags as they marched through the capital

Thousands of supporters and opponents of Germany's far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party have held rival demonstrations in the capital Berlin.

Police said about 5,000 people attended the AfD march on Sunday and about 20,000 opposed them.

Supporters of the anti-immigration AfD chanted "We are the people", and were met with chants of "Go away Nazis".

It was the party's largest gathering since it became Germany's largest opposition party earlier this year.

It took 13% of the vote in a general election.

Police had been deployed to prevent clashes. They say they used pepper spray to keep the two groups apart.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption AfD leader Alexander Gauland (L) was at the demonstration

AfD supporters gathered at Berlin's main train station shortly after midday, following a call to members to march through the city "for the future of Germany".

Images showed riot police making arrests following sporadic clashes at Friedrichstrasse station.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption The AfD supporters were far outnumbered by the counter-demonstrators

In a newspaper interview ahead of the demonstrations on Sunday, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, the general secretary of Germany's main governing party, the Christian Democrats, accused AfD of anti-Semitism.

She told Bild am Sonntag the party was a threat to Jewish life in Germany, adding: "There are anti-Semites in all corners of your party". The AfD denies the accusation.

AfD Berlin chief Georg Pazderski said ahead of the march that many of the party's supporters feared being "stigmatised" despite the party's electoral success.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Police arrested a man on a platform of Friedrichstrasse station

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