Germany AfD: Police and protesters clash over Hannover meeting

Protesters carry placards and shout slogans as they demonstrate during a protest against the convention of the German far-right populist Alternative for Germany party in Hanover, Germany, 2 December 2017Image copyright
EPA

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Five demonstrations were planned to coincide with the AfD convention on Saturday in Hanover, said reports

Several people have been injured in clashes between police and anti-fascist demonstrators in the city of Hannover.

Protesters were trying to blockade the far-right Alternative for Germany’s first conference since it entered parliament after September’s elections.

With temperatures near freezing, police used water cannon, batons and pepper spray to clear a path for the 600 delegates.

One demonstrator’s leg was broken after he chained himself to a barricade.

Police said an officer was hit on the hand by a flying bottle.

Ten protesters were taken into custody, police told German news website NDR.

It said a total of five demonstrations were scheduled in the northern city on Saturday – some 6,000 people joined a pro-immigration rally in the city centre and another rally called by trade unions is expected to draw thousands later.

When the AfD conference got under way, an hour late, spokesman Joerg Meuthen hailed delegates for making AfD Germany’s third-biggest force within five years of being founded.

He said the party was attracting support from voters put off by the other parties’ “pathetic childish games” amid an ongoing struggle to form a coalition government.

The party has veered to the right since its inception as an anti-euro force, promoting anti-immigration and anti-Islam policies in its election campaign.

But this sharp turn has created tension within its own ranks, with former co-leader Frauke Petry quitting within days of the election.

Delegates in Hannover are to choose new leaders.

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Mr Meuthen, who represents the party’s far-right nativist wing, could become sole leader. But a representative of more moderate forces, Georg Pazderski, is running to become co-leader and there is speculation the leader of the party’s parliamentary group Alexander Gauland could also make a challenge for the leadership.

Delegates will also elect a new executive board to decide the ideological direction of the party and debate policy motions.

Germany AfD: Police and protesters clash over Hannover meeting

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