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Right-wing demonstrations and counterprotests follow stabbing in Chemnitz, Germany

Yahoo News Photo Staff

Eighteen people were injured in rival demonstrations capping off a week marked by xenophobic protests in the eastern city of Chemnitz, prompting Germany’s foreign minister to urge Germans to “get off our sofas” and speak up against racism.

Chemnitz has been in the spotlight after violent far-right protests erupted over the fatal stabbing of a 35-year-old man, allegedly by a Syrian and an Iraqi last Sunday.

On Saturday, 8,000 people answered a joint call by far-right party AfD and Islamophobic PEGIDA street movement to descend once again on the streets of the former communist city which was in the erstwhile East Germany.

The mobilization vastly outnumbered a contingent of 3,000 counter protesters, including Green party and Social Democratic Party MPs, who had also converged to take a stand against racism.

Local police, backed up by officers from across Germany, were out in force to keep both sides from clashing.

But as the rallies cleared, scuffles took place among small groups. (AFP)

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Right-wing demonstrations and counterprotests in Chemnitz, Germany

A boy holds candles as he stands in front of a poster reading ‘bridges instead of cleavages’ during a demonstration for democracy and against extremism in Chemnitz, eastern Germany, Sunday, Sept. 2, 2018. (Photo: Jens Meyer/AP)

Right-wing demonstrations and counterprotests in Chemnitz, Germany

People hold a banner reading: “Peace is the way” as they attend a manifestation following the killing of a German man in Chemnitz, Germany, Sept. 2, 2018. (Photo: Hannibal Hanschke/Reuters)

Right-wing demonstrations and counterprotests in Chemnitz, Germany

Participants in a right-wing march confront riot police after police halted the march due to a blockade by counter-demonstrators on Sept. 1, 2018 in Chemnitz, Germany. Several thousand people had taken part in a march of silence organized by the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) political party. Two refugees, a Syrian and an Iraqi, are accused of having stabbed Chemnitz local Daniel Hillig following an altercation in the early hours of August 26. The death has sparked angry protests by locals as well as right-wing groups that have led to clashes with police and counter-protesters. (Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Right-wing demonstrations and counterprotests in Chemnitz, Germany

People take part in demonstrations following the killing of a German man in Chemnitz, in Chemnitz, Germany Sept. 1, 2018. (Photo: Hannibal Hanschke/Reuters)

Right-wing demonstrations and counterprotests in Chemnitz, Germany

Police separate leftist and nationalist demonstrators in Chemnitz, eastern Germany, Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018, after several nationalist groups called for marches protesting the killing of a German man last week, allegedly by migrants from Syria and Iraq. (Photo: Jens Meyer/AP)

Right-wing demonstrations and counterprotests in Chemnitz, Germany

Bjoern Hoecke, center, leader of the Alternative for Germany, AfD, in German state of Thuringia, participates in a commemoration march in Chemnitz, eastern Germany, Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018, after several nationalist groups called for marches protesting the killing of a German man last week, allegedly by migrants from Syria and Iraq. (Photo: Jens Meyer/AP)

Right-wing demonstrations and counterprotests in Chemnitz, Germany

A masked leftist demonstrator flees approaching police who try to separate leftist and nationalist demonstrators in Chemnitz, eastern Germany, Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018, after several nationalist groups called for marches protesting the killing of a German man last week, allegedly by migrants from Syria and Iraq. (Photo: Jens Meyer/AP)

Right-wing demonstrations and counterprotests in Chemnitz, Germany

People take part in a march of silence organized by the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) political party and carry German flags and portraits of supposed victims of refugee violence on Sept. 1, 2018 in Chemnitz, Germany. Two refugees, a Syrian and an Iraqi, are accused of having stabbed Chemnitz local Daniel Hillig following an altercation in the early hours of August 26. The death has sparked angry protests by locals as well as right-wing groups that have led to clashes with police and counter-protesters. (Photo: Jens Schlueter/Getty Images)

Right-wing demonstrations and counterprotests in Chemnitz, Germany

People protest against a demonstration of Anti-immigration party Alternative for Germany (AfD) in Chemnitz, Germany, Sept. 1, 2018. The banner reads “No muslim baiting”. (Photo: Hannibal Hanschke/Reuters)

Right-wing demonstrations and counterprotests in Chemnitz, Germany

Police detain a protestor as they separate leftist and nationalist demonstrators in Chemnitz, eastern Germany, Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018, after several nationalist groups called for marches protesting the killing of a German man last week, allegedly by migrants from Syria and Iraq. (Photo: Jens Meyer/AP)

Right-wing demonstrations and counterprotests in Chemnitz, Germany

A protestor holds a poster with a photo of Angela Merkel reading ‘Merkel must go” and referring she is guilty of incitement in Chemnitz, eastern Germany, Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018, after several nationalist groups called for marches protesting the killing of a German man last week, allegedly by migrants from Syria and Iraq. (Photo: Jens Meyer/AP)

Right-wing demonstrations and counterprotests in Chemnitz, Germany

People place flowers at a makeshift memorial in the crime scene where a German man was stabbed in Chemnitz, Germany, Sept. 1, 2018. (Photo: Hannibal Hanschke/Reuters)

Right-wing demonstrations and counterprotests in Chemnitz, Germany

A supporter of the far-right “Pro Chemnitz” holds a flag during a demonstration in Chemnitz, Germany, Sept. 1, 2018. (Photo: Hannibal Hanschke/Reuters)

Right-wing demonstrations and counterprotests in Chemnitz, Germany

People demonstrate after the killing of a German man in Chemnitz, Germany, Sept. 1, 2018. The banner reads “Heart instead of baiting”. (Photo: Hannibal Hanschke/Reuters)

Right-wing demonstrations and counterprotests in Chemnitz, Germany

People gather during demonstrations following the killing of a German man in Chemnitz, Germany, Sept. 1, 2018. (Photo: Hannibal Hanschke/Reuters)

Right-wing demonstrations and counterprotests in Chemnitz, Germany

Mounted police pass by the the Karl Marx statue as they are on patrol in Chemnitz, eastern Germany, Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018, after several nationalist groups called for marches protesting the killing of a German man last week, allegedly by migrants from Syria and Iraq. (Photo: Jens Meyer/AP)

Right-wing demonstrations and counterprotests in Chemnitz, Germany

Police stand guard during demonstrations following the killing of a German man in Chemnitz, Germany, Sept. 1, 2018. (Photo: Hannibal Hanschke/Reuters)

Right-wing demonstrations and counterprotests in Chemnitz, Germany

Protesters gather for a far-right protest in Chemnitz, Germany, Monday, Aug. 27, 2018 after a man has died and two others were injured in an altercation between several people of “various nationalities” in the eastern German city of Chemnitz on Sunday. (Photo: Jens Meyer/AP)

Right-wing demonstrations and counterprotests in Chemnitz, Germany

A cross, candles and flowers are seen at the crime scene where a German man was stabbed in Chemnitz, Germany, Aug. 31, 2018. (Photo: Hannibal Hanschke/Reuters)

Right-wing demonstrations and counterprotests in Chemnitz, Germany

Protesters light fireworks during a far-right demonstration in Chemnitz, Germany, Monday, Aug. 27, 2018 after a man has died and two others were injured in an altercation between several people of “various nationalities” in the eastern German city of Chemnitz on Sunday. (Photo: Jens Meyer/AP)

Right-wing demonstrations and counterprotests in Chemnitz, Germany

Riot police cross the street as a city festival was cancelled on Aug. 26, 2018 in Chemnitz, eastern Germany, after a 35-year-old German national died in hospital following a “dispute between several people of different nationalities”, according to the police. (Photo: Andreas Seidel/dpa/ AFP/Getty Images)

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