Thousands gather in Hamburg for protest against German far right

Participants walk behind a banner reading "Together for democracy" during a demonstration against right-wing extremism in Hamburg. Axel Heimken/dpa
Participants walk behind a banner reading "Together for democracy" during a demonstration against right-wing extremism in Hamburg. Axel Heimken/dpa

Tens of thousands of people gathered in Hamburg on Sunday ahead of a march through the inner city to demonstrate opposition to right-wing extremism in Germany.

The organizers are expecting some 30,000 to march under the slogan "We are the firewall – together against right-wing extremism." Police had not yet put a figure on the number attending shortly after midday.

The demonstration was the third of its kind in Hamburg since the start of the year, and cities across Germany have seen regular marches since it emerged that members of the far right had met to discuss mass deportations of millions of people living in Germany.

A local Hamburg band played as the demonstrators assembled at Dammtor to the north of the centre before marching along the Inner Alster Lake. The Hamburg hip-hop electronic band Deichkind is set to play at the protest.

The Hamburg demonstrations on Sunday are just one of at least 12 protest events planned in as many German cities all over the country, including in the capital Berlin and in south-eastern city of Dresden.

Countrywide protests erupted after information about a meeting by extremists in Potsdam near Berlin in November at which members of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), the conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the ultra-conservative Values Union (WerteUnion) discussed plans to deport immigrants.

The protests come ahead of elections in eastern states this year in which the AfD is predicted to do well.

People take part in a demonstration against right-wing extremism in Hamburg. Axel Heimken/dpa
People take part in a demonstration against right-wing extremism in Hamburg. Axel Heimken/dpa
The band "Deichkind", whose members wear sweatshirts and pants with the slogan "Impulsive people against the right", performs at a demonstration against right-wing extremism. Axel Heimken/dpa
The band "Deichkind", whose members wear sweatshirts and pants with the slogan "Impulsive people against the right", performs at a demonstration against right-wing extremism. Axel Heimken/dpa