As protesters gathered on the streets of Stuttgart on Saturday, delegates from Germany’s rapidly growing right-wing Alternative for Germany party were due to vote on a manifesto that some members want to be openly anti-Islamic.
Bouyed by electoral success the party has swung to the right under leader Frauke Petry – so much so that one of its MEPs has been thrown out of the Conservative grouping in the European parliament, and has opted to line up with Holland’s Geert Wilders and France’s Marine Le Pen, who are also attracting support on the back of the refugee crisis.
Petry likened Angela Merkel’s stance on immigration to the fairy tale of the emperor’s new clothes:
“We always wondered when the brave child would finally appear to voice the thoughts of the silent majority and declare that the Chancellor of no alternatives is nothing but naked.”
But outside there was evidence that many people are unhappy about the advance of AfD in the polls. Around 1800 people staged a peaceful march through Stuttgart on Saturday to protest against the party.
Earlier in the day the convention was overshadowed by clashes between leftists and police, who temporarily detained more than 400 demonstrators.