Church calls for tolerance in Chemnitz

Church calls for tolerance in Chemnitz
By Mark Armstrong
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The Protestant church held a rally in Chemnitz to call for tolerance towards migrants as residents' concerns grow over right-wing elements


The German city of Chemnitz was once again the scene of protest on Sunday, but this time it was peaceful in contrast to recent xenophobic and violent events. It was the turn of the church. Many residents in Chemnitz said they worry about the developments in their city and the open demonstrations of fascism.

"We have to oppose the right-wingers and we want an open, colourful society, and we will succeed if we all stand together," said one woman attending.

In recent years Germany has shown its tolerant face, with Chancellor Angela Merkel in 2015 deciding to allow in a million asylum seekers. But some Germans think the newcomers, who are mainly Muslim, have changed the social and political face of the country. The government, including German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, is aware that the xenophobic protesters often outnumber the counter-demonstrators:

"That's why I'm glad that there are so many upright Democrats who also show their colors - also in Chemnitz, who make it clear that the vast majority of Germans want to live in a cosmopolitan, tolerant country and that those who share another ideology, are a minority that is louder than you wish. But then the chorus of the decent must simply be louder than it has been before. "

On Saturday more than 8,000 people marched through Chemnitz in a joint rally of the right-wing parties Alternative for Germany and Pegida. The protest was largely peaceful in contrast to clashes the week before.

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