Posts Tagged ‘immigration’

Spanish navy rescues over 200 migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean from Libya

June 26, 2017

MADRID — Two people were found dead as more than 200 migrants adrift in two dinghies off the Libyan coast were rescued by the Spanish navy on Sunday, the Spanish Defense Ministry said on Monday.

In total, 229 people were picked up after a Spanish navy ship was dispatched to help the boats struggling to stay afloat.

After the rescue mission was completed the migrants were transferred to a Swedish ship, which is also part of a wider European response to tackle human smuggling and trafficking networks in the Mediterranean Sea, and taken to Italy.

Half a million people have crossed the Mediterranean from Libya to Italy over the past four years, mainly sub-Saharan Africans who pay smugglers to shepherd them across the desert to Libya, and onward to Europe in unseaworthy dinghies.

An estimated 13,000 of them have drowned.

(Reporting By Jesús Aguado; editing by Emma Pinedo and Pritha Sarkar)

Migrants wait to be rescued by ‘Save the Children’ NGO crew from the ship Vos Hestia in the Mediterranean sea off Libya coast, June 18, 2017. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini

‘Stop immigration’ is no longer the Tories’ Brexit rallying cry

June 26, 2017

The Guardian

The Conservative appetite for harder borders ahead of prosperity is waning as voters’ priorities shift too

June 26, 2017

Conservative leadership candidate of the week is Philip Hammond. Well, it is his turn, and he has been in clover since the election, relishing his transition from soon-to-be-sacked to impregnable chancellor. His Mansion House speech on Tuesday last week was a triumphant brandishing of the spreadsheet at his fallen or diminished foes in Downing Street.

Over the weekend, there has been much gossip about a supposed “dream ticket” strategy whereby Hammond, supported by David Davis, would take the Tory helm and steady the ship until the party’s next generation is ready to assume the mantle of leadership.

There are two immediate problems with this plan. First, no self-respecting politician devotes a career to constituency surgeries, late-night votes and red boxes at 1am in the hope of being hailed one day as a “caretaker leader”. To be told “you’ll do for now” is not much of an endorsement.

Second, I do not see Davis as anyone’s running mate – which I mean as a compliment. He gave serious thought to running in 2016 and would be changing the habits of a lifetime if he were not at least to keep his options open in these turbulent times.

It is said that, at 68, the Brexit secretary is too old for the top job. Since Jeremy Corbyn is the same age, and has just conquered Glastonbury, this would seem an otiose objection. More to the point, Davis is a fitness fanatic, who cannot see a sharp incline without ascending it. I would like to watch some of his younger critics keep up with him on a fell walk.

What Hammond and Davis do share is an understanding that the outcome of the Brexit talks is much more important than the identity of the next Conservative leader. When, precisely, Theresa May bows to the inevitable, who replaces her, and by what means: all this will do much to shape the outcome of the next election. But the deal on Britain’s departure from the EU – if there is a deal – will determine the nation’s global status and trajectory for decades to come.

Like Donald Tusk, I am a fan of John Lennon, and have dreamed of a world in which Brexit might be reversed. But one of the few certainties delivered by the election was the dashing of this dream. Both main parties were unambiguously committed not only to leaving the EU but the single market. We are on our way out, and that’s that.

Labour’s Chuka Umunna has performed noble work in trying to square the circle and explore structures whereby the UK might remain part of le marché unique. But I cannot realistically see any party getting away with a deal in which Britain remained subject to the jurisdiction of the European court of justice.

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Australian police use pepper spray to stop clashes at anti-immigration rally  

June 25, 2017


 Police use pepper spray in Melbourne protests
Police use pepper spray at Melbourne protest
By Harry Pearl | SYDNEY

Australian police fired pepper spray to break up clashes between right-wing nationalists and anti-racism protesters on the streets of Melbourne on Sunday, the latest protest held by anti-immigration groups in the country.

Far-right activists from the True Blue Crew, which says it is opposed to refugees and the “Islamisation” of Australia, faced off with members of a left-wing coalition promoting tolerance in the city.

Australia has seen a rise in far-right activist groups and political parties opposed to Islam and Asian immigration following a number of ‘lone wolf’ attacks by home-grown Islamist radicals.

Victoria Police said one person was arrested for possession of a weapon and one detained for breach of the peace, and a knife and a knuckle duster were confiscated.

“Police were forced to deploy capsicum spray when a small number of protestors attempted to breach a police line, with one person given aftercare as a result of the capsicum spray,” a spokeswoman said.

TV footage showed nationalist protesters holding Australian flags on poles or draped around their shoulders, while opposition protesters held placards with anti-racism messages.

The rally attracted hundreds of protesters and a heavy police presence kept the opposing groups separated, local media reported.

Australia, a staunch ally of the U.S., has been on high alert for home-grown Islamist attacks since 2014 and authorities say they have thwarted a number of plots.

Far-right groups and political parties like Pauline Hanson’s One Nation have seized on the mood to push anti-immigration agendas.

Concern about immigration has also seeped into the mainstream political discourse, with the governing Liberal-National coalition vowing to tighten rules around citizenship and require applicants to demonstrate how they have embraced “Australian values”.

Phillip Galea, a fixture at rallies organized by the True Blue Crew, was charged with planning a terror attack in August last year.

It was the first time federal terrorism laws had been used to target such right-wing groups.

(Reporting by Harry Pearl; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

EU Will Restrict Visas for States Not Taking Back Migrants — Migrant deaths in Mediterranean in 2017 pass 2,000 mark on World Refugee Day after new boat disasters

June 23, 2017

BRUSSELS — The European Union states decided on Friday to restrict visas for foreign countries that refuse to take back their nationals who have no right of asylum in Europe.

The EU is cracking down on immigration following a spike in arrivals across the Mediterranean since 2014.

Italy is now the main gateway to the bloc and most of those reaching European shores after boarding smugglers’ boats in Africa are considered illegal labor migrants.

Some countries, including Bangladesh and Nigeria, are often reluctant to readmit their citizens and the EU has recently doubled down on efforts to expedite such returns.


Migrant deaths in Mediterranean in 2017 pass 2,000 mark on World Refugee Day after new boat disasters

Humanitarian organisations call on EU to stop ‘demonising’ NGOs for saving lives at sea

By Lizzie Dearden

The Independent Online

2,000 migrants drowned by World Refugee Day

More than 2,000 migrants have died attempting treacherous boat crossings to Europe so far this year, following three more shipwrecks announced on World Refugee Day.

The United Nations’ Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said 129 asylum seekers were missing and presumed dead after a dinghy launched by smugglers in Libya started taking on water and sank, leaving only four survivors from Sub-Saharan Africa.

Two rescued Sudanese men told the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) the boat had been at sea for several hours when a group of Libyans described as “pirates” approached in a speedboat and stole their motor.

Passing Libyan fishermen rescued the pair along with two Nigerian men who were the only other survivors, and put them on another migrant boat.

“They were in shock, traumatised by what had happened, and exhausted,” said IOM spokesman Flavio Di Giacomo, adding that motor thefts had caused several recent disasters.

Another boat was carrying at least 85 people from Syria and North Africa, including families with children, when it broke in two and sank on Monday.

Migrants rescued by the Vos Hestia ship off Libya coast on Saturday (Reuters)

A third shipwreck is feared to have left at least seven people dead, with survivors including a pregnant woman taken to Sicily.

The UNHCR said the disasters were a reminder of the “grave dangers” facing people forced to flee their countries by war and persecution.

Of almost 83,000 migrants who have arrived by sea in Europe so far in 2017, the vast majority have crossed the central Mediterranean between Libya and Italy – now the deadliest sea passage in the world.

It has claimed more than 2,000 lives since January, according to UNHCR figures, sparking fresh appeals for enhanced rescue operations and the introduction of safe and legal alternatives for a record 65.6 million displaced people around the world.

“More efforts are needed to address the root causes behind these movements of people to Libya, including by solving conflicts and reducing poverty,” said a spokesperson for the agency.

The UN and humanitarian groups have been raising concerns over increased EU support for the fragile Libyan Government of National Accord.

The UK is among countries training its coastguard, while boats, equipment and millions of euros have been handed over in efforts to slow crossings.

Migrants rescued by Save the Children in the Mediterranean Sea on Sunday (Reuters)

But as the Libyan civil war continues to rage six years after the UK supported the removal of Muammar Gaddafi, smugglers have set up a ruthless trade with migrants routinely kidnapped, ransomed, forced into labour, raped, tortured and sold at “slave markets”.

A new report by Human Rights Watch (HRW) said the Libyan coastguard was engaging in “reckless conduct” during operations to force migrant boats back to land – in violation of international laws against refoulement.

It highlighted incidents reported by The Independent in May where the coastguard opened fire while blocking rescues by NGO ships in international waters.

“Recent incidents show how wrong it is for EU countries to entrust the lives of those in need of rescue to Libyan coast guard forces when there are safer alternatives,” said Judith Sunderland, associate Europe and Central Asia director at HRW, calling for Italian authorities who currently coordinate rescues not to hand over command.

The call was repeated by a group of rescue organisations including Sea-Watch, Jugend Rettet and Proactiva Open Arms, who said European plans to “outsource control” of the refugee crisis to Libyan authorities was not practical or legal.

An open letter to mark World Refugee Day on Tuesday called on European naval forces to conduct rescues, stop boats being illegally pushed back to Libya, develop an impartial monitoring system and “support and decriminalise NGOs rather than demonising them”.

Charities and aid agencies operating refugee rescue ships have been accused of aiding and even directly colluding with Libyan smugglers in the increasingly toxic debate, despite research finding no evidence to support the allegations.

Italy, which is housing more than 190,000 asylum seekers in state-funded accommodation, has criticised other European countries for failing to resettle asylum seekers and help rescue efforts.

“I’m sorry that not everyone, including in Europe, has shown the same willingness to take people in [as Italy has],” Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni said in a message marking World Refugee Day.

“The refugee issue crosses national borders and involves the entire EU and is, in the end, a global phenomenon.”

The Italian navy and coastguard picked up 41 per cent of migrants rescued at sea last year, NGO ships 26 per cent, and ships from the EU-wide Operation Sophia 25 per cent.

But during the first four months of 2017, the proportion of rescues conducted by NGOs has increased to 35 per cent, with Italian authorities carrying out a third and Operation Sophia carrying out just 16 per cent.

EU leaders will meet in Brussels to discuss migration policy on Thursday, after arrivals to Italy jumped by a quarter year-on-year.

Last week, the European Commission opened a legal case against Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic for refusing to take in asylum seekers under a 2015 plan to relocate migrants from Italy and Greece.

Immigration and Terrorism: Laws Would Make Aspiring Australians Pledge to Share Australian Values

June 15, 2017

CANBERRA, Australia — Aspiring Australian citizens will have to make a pledge to share Australian values under proposed new laws introduced to Parliament on Thursday.

The law would give Immigration and Border Protection Minister Peter Dutton power to write and revise an Australian Values Statement and it would reduce avenues to appeal his decisions on citizenship cases. The bill does not spell out what Australian values are and critics argue that getting Australians to agree on what values they share is difficult.

Dutton said citizenship laws had to be reinforced to maintain public support for immigration and the value of citizenship during an increasingly challenging security environment.

“The Australian community expects that aspiring citizens demonstrate their allegiance to our country and commitment to live in accordance with Australian laws and values and be willing to integrate into and become contributing members of the Australian community,” Dutton told Parliament.

Image result for immigrants to Australia, photos

Dutton said the values statement would cover respect for religious freedom and gender equality as well as commitment to the rule of law and Australia’s parliamentary democracy.

There would also be values-based questions included in a citizenship test.

The bill would also raise the bar on English-language skills for prospective citizens and extends the time that an applicant must be an Australian permanent resident from one to four years.

Kim Rubenstein, a professor in the College of Law and a Public Policy Fellow at the Australian National University, said aspects of the bill were draconian and exclusive, shifting the balance of citizenship in Australia and giving the government unprecedented power.

“One of the most fundamental Australian values is a commitment to the rule of law and Western democratic liberal principles, but this act really shows a lack of appreciation of these core Australian values,” said Rubenstein, author of “Australian Citizenship Law in Context.”

“By introducing this bill, they’re failing their own citizenship test, if Australian values are so fundamental,” she added.

Activist group GetUp! said the law would create an underclass of migrants prevented from attaining citizenship and from equality with the rest of society.

Law Council of Australia President Fiona McLeod, a leading advocate for the legal profession, said the law overreached by giving Dutton power to overturn citizenship rulings made by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, a court that hears public complaints about government decisions.

The conservative coalition government does not hold a majority of seats in the Senate and will need the support of the opposition Labor Party or a diverse collection of minor parties and independent senators to pass the bill into law. Opposition leader Bill Shorten has said Labor would consider the changes.

It is not clear whether Dutton would pen the values statement before or after the bill became law.

Australia introduced a formal citizenship test in 2007. Before then, a government official would informally question an applicant about his or her knowledge of a citizen’s responsibilities and privileges in an oral test.

Rubenstein was part of a review team in 2008 that recommended shifting the 2007 citizenship test focus from general knowledge about Australia to the responsibilities and rights of citizens.

She said the proposed new approach reminded her of the system in the early 20th century when applicants who wanted to migrate to Australia could be asked to take a dictation test in any European language that an official chose. The test was designed to exclude Asian and black immigrants.

“It does smack of that earlier xenophobic approach to who is in and who is out and I think it creates tension with the very vibrant, affirming and cohesive multicultural society that we have. This is a real step away from that,” Rubenstein said.

Theresa May Meets With Macron, Reaffirms She Will Not Compromise Over Brexit

June 14, 2017


Theresa May has signalled she will not compromise over Brexit despite growing demands for a change in approach in the wake of last week’s election result.

The Prime Minister is understood still to be determined to enter talks in Brussels next week with a threat that Britain is prepared to leave the EU without a future trading deal.

She also wishes to stick to the pre-election Conservative plan for this country to leave the single market and customs union to allow the UK to negotiate free-trade deals around the world, and control immigration.

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EU door remains open until UK departs, Macron tells May

Theresa May and Emmanuel Macron at the Elysée Palace.

Theresa May and Emmanuel Macron at the Elysée Palace. Photograph: Yui Mok/PA

The French president called for Brexit negotiations to “start as soon as possible,” but also added that as long as the negotiations are not over, there is still a possibility to change the course of events.

French President Emmanuel Macron, right, greets Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May prior to their meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris on Tuesday. After their talks, the two leaders will watch a France-England football match at the stade de France that will honour victims of extremist attacks in both countries.

French President Emmanuel Macron, right, greets Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May prior to their meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris on Tuesday. After their talks, the two leaders will watch a France-England football match at the stade de France that will honour victims of extremist attacks in both countries.  (THIBAULT CAMUS / AP)  

PARIS—She wants to escape the European Union, he wants to embolden it. British Prime Minister Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron held talks Tuesday from opposite sides of the Brexit front line and agreed that negotiations for Britain’s divorce from the European bloc will start next week as planned.

They also reached common ground on fighting a shared enemy: terrorism. Standing side by side in the garden of the Elysée Palace after a working dinner, the two leaders announced plans to pursue an initiative to require tech companies to better police online extremism and hold them legally liable if they fail to do so.

“We are united in our total condemnation of terrorism and our commitment to stamp out this evil,” May said.

Read more:

U.K.’s Boris Johnson says May is ‘the right person’ to continue amid calls for her resignation

Election win puts Emmanuel Macron on course to redefine European politics: Burman

Macron’s party takes strong lead in French parliamentary elections

May arrived in Paris with her leadership hobbled by a catastrophic election last week just as Britain heads into tough talks on leaving the EU.

While May struggles to hold onto power, Macron is on the ascendancy, with his year-old party set to win a huge majority in parliamentary elections Sunday. That should fortify Macron’s standing in Europe as he tries to push the remaining EU nations to stand tough in Brexit negotiations, and to unite even more closely as Britain departs.

Seeking to allay European concerns after her election setback, May reaffirmed Tuesday that “the timetable for Brexit negotiations remains on course and will begin next week.”

British officials had previously suggested they wouldn’t be able to formally start Brexit negotiations as scheduled.

Macron shakes hands with May after their joint press conference at the Elysee Presidential Palace. May met Macron to discuss the fight against radicalization and terrorism.
Macron shakes hands with May after their joint press conference at the Elysee Presidential Palace. May met Macron to discuss the fight against radicalization and terrorism.  (THIERRY CHESNOT/GETTY IMAGES)  

Macron called for the negotiations to “start as soon as possible,” but also added that the door remains open for the U.K. to remain in the European Union. From a European point of view, he said, as long as the negotiations are not over, there is still a possibility to change the course of events.

Still, he acknowledged, “the decision (to exit the EU) has been taken by the sovereign British people. I do respect that.”

The talks Tuesday also focused heavily on deepening counterterrorism co-operation, especially reducing extremist propaganda circulated online. Britain and France face similar challenges in fighting homegrown Islamic extremism and share similar scars from deadly attacks that rocked London, Manchester, Paris and Nice.

May said major internet companies have failed to live up to prior commitments to do more to prevent extremists from finding a “safe space” online. Macron urged other European countries, especially Germany, to join the effort to fight Islamic extremist propaganda on the web.

After Daesh, also known as ISIS or ISIL, recruited hundreds of French fighters largely through online propaganda, France introduced legislation ordering French providers to block certain content, but acknowledges any such effort must reach well beyond its borders. Tech-savvy Macron has lobbied for tougher European rules, but details of his plans remain unclear.

Britain already has tough measures, including a law known informally as the Snooper’s Charter, which gives authorities the powers to look at the internet browsing records of everyone in the country. Among other things, the law requires telecommunications companies to keep records of all users’ web activity for a year, creating data bases of personal information that the firms worry could be vulnerable to leaks and hackers.

Macron, May and French interior minister Gerard Collomb attend a friendly soccer match between France and England at the Stade de France in Saint Denis, north of Paris on Tuesday.
Macron, May and French interior minister Gerard Collomb attend a friendly soccer match between France and England at the Stade de France in Saint Denis, north of Paris on Tuesday.  (FRANCOIS MORI/AP)  

After their talks, May and Macron headed to the Stade de France stadium north of Paris to watch a France-England exhibition soccer match honouring victims of the recent attacks in Manchester and London. In an emotional show of support, players from both teams walked onto the field to sounds of the Oasis song “Don’t Look Back in Anger” played by the French Republican Guard. Then Macron and May joined French and British fans in singing the British national anthem “God Save the Queen,” followed by a minute of silence.

Two big screens at the stadium projected the red-and-white Cross of St. George and giant flags from both countries were rolled out onto the field.

Three attackers mowed down pedestrians on London Bridge and then stabbed people in nearby Borough Market on June 3. Eight people were killed and dozens more injured. On May 22, a man detonated a bomb as crowds were leaving an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, killing 22 people.

France’s players were touched by the overwhelming show of support they received from England fans when they played an exhibition match at Wembley Stadium on Nov. 17, 2015 — just four days after attacks hit a Paris stadium, cafes and a rock concert, killing 130 people. England fans that night sang along with the French national anthem.

‘Hard’ or ‘soft’ Brexit? UK Election chaos fires up debate

June 12, 2017


© AFP/File / by Dario THUBURN | Britain is still debating the benefits and dangers of a “hard” or “soft” Brexit

LONDON (AFP) – Supporters of “hard” and “soft” Brexit tried to take advantage of the political chaos in Britain on Monday to promote their visions amid fears that their rivalry could revive old divisions in the Conservative party.Prime Minister Theresa May is in a weakened position after losing her parliamentary majority in last week’s snap election, leaving her vulnerable to both hardliners and moderates in her party.

“May has lost all authority on Brexit and everything else. All options are back on the table,” Stephen Barber, associate professor of public policy at London South Bank University, told AFP.

Under the “hard Brexit” scenario, which has prevailed so far, Britain would leave the European single market and the customs union and curb EU immigration.

It would also leave open the option of walking away from the negotiations with no deal in place — a decision that many businesses warn could be disastrous.

Advocates of a “soft Brexit” scenario say Britain could retain access to the European single market like non-EU member Norway and allow certain levels of EU immigration.

Sparring between the two sides is in full force ahead of the scheduled start of complex negotiations with Brussels next week, with a tight timetable that would see Britain leave the EU in March 2019.

Setting the tone, Michael Heseltine, a leading pro-European Conservative told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show on Sunday that “hard Brexit” was “the cancer gnawing at the heart of the Conservative Party”.

– ‘Soft Brexit’? –

In the hours immediately after Thursday’s embarrassing election setback for the Conservatives, British media reported that finance minister Philip Hammond had told May she needed to put “jobs first” in any new deal with Brussels.

Other powerful critical voices quickly followed.

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson, whose 13 MPs saved May from election disaster, said the government should “think again” about its approach.

She has called for an “open Brexit” strategy that would focus on retaining trade ties and has said she wants a role in devising the government’s policy.

Scotland voted by 62 percent to remain in the European Union in last year’s historic referendum but it wasn’t enough to change the overall UK result, with 52 percent in favour of leaving.

Arlene Foster, leader of Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party, will also have an important voice as the government will have to rely on her party’s 10 MPs to effectively govern.

While her party supported Brexit, Northern Ireland voted to remain in the EU and many residents have voiced concern about the return of border checkpoints which were removed over a decade ago.

Foster, who is due to meet May on Tuesday, could insist that Britain stay in the customs union, and that would probably make it easier to keep an open border with the Irish Republic.

– ‘Hard Brexit’? –

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said on Sunday that the plans were unchanged but added it was “very, very important that we’re careful about the existing trade that we do with Europe, about access to the single market”.

He also said that there should be “some agreement on the immigration that we can accept from Europe”.

Brexit minister David Davis took a harder tone, however, when he took to the airwaves on Monday.

“The reason for leaving the single market is because we want to take back control of our borders. They’re not compatible,” he told BBC radio.

Asked about the possibility of a Norway option, he answered: “We’re not going down that route.”

He also said the government was still open to not accepting a bad deal.

“It’s important we have the option if it comes down to it to walk away,” he said.

May’s appointment of top Brexit campaigner Michal Gove to the cabinet on Sunday could help bolster the “hard Brexit” view.

Financial Times columnist Wolfgang Munchau warned against overestimating the effect of Britain’s election on Brexit strategy, as many of the decisions will depend more on its EU partners.

“The degrees of hardness and softness are not unilateral choices to be taken by the UK electorate,” he wrote.

“The only conclusion I can draw… is that the election has changed absolutely nothing for Brexit”.

by Dario THUBURN

UK to Delay Queen’s Speech Policy Outline Amid Political Turmoil: BBC

June 12, 2017

LONDON — Britain’s government will delay the Queen’s Speech, in which it traditionally spells out its policy plans, because of the upheaval caused by Prime Minister Theresa May’s failure to win a parliamentary majority last week, the BBC said on Monday.

The speech had been due to take place on June 19 but would be put back by a few days, the BBC said.

The shock result of last week’s election has raised big questions about how May will advance with her plan to take Britain out of the European Union.

(Writing by William Schomberg; editing by Costas Pitas)

UK Single Market Membership Not Likely to Be on Table in Brexit Talks: Senior Lawmaker

June 12, 2017

LONDON — Remaining in the European Union’s single market is not likely to be on the table in upcoming Brexit negotiations, a senior lawmaker from British Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservatives said on Monday.

Opposition lawmakers and some in her own party have said May does not have a mandate for her plan to remove Britain from the EU’s single market, after she failed to win a parliamentary majority at last week’s national election.

“Everything has to be looked at, but we shouldn’t get carried away,” Graham Brady, who chairs the influential 1922 Committee of Conservative lawmakers, told Sky News when asked whether the government’s approach to Brexit needed to be re-examined.

Image result for Graham Brady, UK, lawmaker, photos

Graham Brady

Asked whether the government might seek a deal with the EU that involved controlling immigration whilst remaining a member of the single market, he referred to the experience of May’s predecessor as prime minister, David Cameron.

“David Cameron tried to make that work and nobody was prepared to deal with him on that basis so I’m not sure that would be on the table.”

(Reporting by Kylie MacLellan and William James; editing by Guy Faulconbridge)

Massive police deployment in Germany’s Karlsruhe to prevent far-right violence — Demonstrations and counterdemonstrations

June 3, 2017

German police will deploy their largest force in years to prevent violence during a far-right protest in the southwestern city of Karlsruhe. Anti right-wing groups have planned counterdemonstrations in the same area.

Deutschland Haftprüfung beim Bundesgerichtshof nach BVB-Anschlag (picture-alliance/dpa/U. Deck)

Authorities in the southwestern city of Karlsruhe expect at least 900 people to participate in Saturday’s demonstration organized by the tiny far-right group, Die Rechte (The Right). Police fear that some of the protesters could turn violent during Die Rechte’s the Day of the German Future event.

A counterdemonstration was expected to draw at least 6,000 people.

Police planned to deploy some 3,000 security personnel, including horse-mounted and canine units, to Karlsruhe’s Durlach district to prevent possible acts of violence. This will be the largest police deployment in a German city in years, highlighting the gravity of the situatuion.

Authorities barred several Die Rechte speakers from appearing on stage based on their previous attempts at inciting violence, and stopped organizers from using unconstitutional emblems or flags at the demo.

On Saturday, the Karlsruhe city also hosts its annual gay pride festival under the slogan, “colorful love instead of brown (Nazi) hate.”

Far-right groups have held a number of demonstrations in Karlsruhe in the past. In February 2015, for example, a large right-wing group march took place under the label Kargida.

Anti-refugee and anti-Islam groups such as PEGIDA have gained strength in Germany over the past few years following a massive influx of migrants from war-torn Middle Eastern and North African countries to Europe.