Anti-racism concert held in Germany's Chemnitz to protest far-right marches

Source: Xinhua| 2018-09-04 19:52:59|Editor: xuxin
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BERLIN, Sept. 4 (Xinhua) -- More than 65,000 people have attended a free anti-racism concert in Chemnitz to protest recent far-right marches in the eastern German town, local authorities confirmed on Tuesday.

In contrast to a series of smaller demonstrations organized by the "Pro Chemnitz" group, Alternative for Germany (AfD) party and Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the Occident (PEGIDA) movement, the event, mainly known by its "we are more" twitter hashtag, took place peacefully.

The concert opened with a minute of silent contemplation for the 35-year-old victim of a knife attack in which a Syrian and Iraqi national have been reprimanded in custody by police as suspects.

The concert was given by popular music groups including "Die Toten Hosen", "Kraftklub" and "K.I.Z" which also drew many local Chemnitz families.

Municipal authorities banned far-right counter demonstrations against the event which were initially scheduled to be held in parallel and were seen as a potential security threat in light of violent scenes at earlier "Pro Chemnitz" marches.

During the course of the past week, local police repeatedly struggled to maintain control of the streets in the city of 243,000, as violent protestors threatened and chased civilians with foreign appearances, clashed with a separate anti-Nazi demonstration and used the banned Hitler salute.

Kraftklub lead singer and local resident Felix Brummer explained on Monday night that the concert had been organized in response to these events to sing against "fascism, homophobia, racism and the crazy AfD."

Feine Sahne Fischfilet, one of the participating bands, argued that it was important for artists and concert-goers to send a signal that far-right protestors did not enjoy the backing of the broader population. "It would be fantastic if 10,000 people come together on Monday and manage to show the racist mob for just a day that there are still others who challenge them on the streets."

Aside from uniting a broad front against far-right violence in a part of Germany which is notorious for its assertive Neonazi scene, the "we are more" concert also achieved the unlikely feat of temporarily ending a traditional feud between two of the countries' most famous rock bands. "Die Toten Hosen" and Rodrigo Rod Gonzales of "Die Aerzte" surprisingly joined forces on the stage to perform the latter's "scream for love."

The sarcastically-worded song is about young men who turn to right-wing extremism because of an unfulfilled craving for affection. The song has become an anthem of the German Anti-Nazi movement since it was first released in 1993.