Tens Of Thousands Join Together To Protest Against Xenophobia And Racism In Germany

Participants marched under the slogan, "We are indivisible - for an open and free society.”

Tens Of Thousands Join Together To Protest Against Xenophobia And Racism In Germany

Thousands of individuals from across Germany marched through the streets of Berlin in protest of racism, xenophobia, and the increased influence of the far right on Saturday.

According to The Guardian, over 240,000 people turned out to promote tolerance amid rising concerns over far-right organization Alternative for Germany, which entered the national parliament in the country's election last year. The mass protest took place a day before Sunday's elections in the southern state of Bavaria, in which Alternative for Germany was expected to gain support.

With tens of thousands of participants, the protest marked one of the country's biggest rallies of recent years. As they walked, marchers reportedly touted the slogan, "We are indivisible - for an open and free society." Other signs read "build bridges not walls" and "united against racism."

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Protestors were motivated to speak out following a show of increased support for the Alternative for Germany party in the wake of the arrival of more than 1 million refugees in the country. The influx sparked several anti-immigration rallies to be held in various eastern cities over the summer, leading to incidents of violence in the city of Chemnitz in August. The event further fueled concerns among activists and many others about the far-right movement and its influence on German politics.

"There are so many people who believe they can abuse human rights and questions of equality and so on, and it's time to say no, there are other people who just want to be open and open-minded," one protestor told the BBC.

Per The New York Times, the far right party did make gains in Sunday's elections, likely allowing it to enter the Bavarian Parliament for the first time. However, pro-refugee liberal force, the Greens saw the biggest increase in support. Running on a platform that campaigned for open borders and the battle against climate change, the Greens looked set to nearly double their votes this year and came in first in many of Bavaria's biggest cities, including Munich.

Cover image via  Carsten Koall/Getty Images.

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