Recently campaigning in the eastern state of Saxony ahead of next month’s federal elections, German Chancellor Angela Merkel was booed, heckled and shouted at by protestors angry at her open borders migrant policy and its transformative effects on Germany.
Taking to the stage in the town square of Annaberg-Buchholz, Merkel was forced to acknowledge the protest, such was the volume of ”get lost” and ”Merkel must go” chants emanating from the crowd.
‘’’’, the Chancellor commented, speaking alongside local representatives of her CDU (Christian Democratic Union) party during what was her first campaign event in the former East Germany.
Merkel is held responsible by many Germans for her September 2015 decision to open the country’s borders to hundreds of thousands of unvetted Middle Eastern migrants, a move which was particularly unpopular in the formerly communist east where resistance to multiculturalism remains strongest.
It is in Saxony, bordering the Czech Republic, where Merkel’s immigration policy has encountered its greatest resistance. The state was the birthplace of the PEGIDA protest movement (Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West), and is where the populist Alternative for Germany (Alternative für Deutschland) party has recorded its highest scores, winning 24.4% of the vote in 2016.
Whilst hundreds of residents of the small town had turned out to hear the Chancellor speak, the ‘’Merkel muss weg’’ (‘’Merkel must go’’) protestors succeeded in making their demonstration, rather than Merkel’s speech, the main theme of the event’s news coverage.
Having presided over an economic recovery in Germany, and dominating the political stage abroad, Merkel will go down in history for her decision to show Germany’s “friendly, beautiful face” to the world by welcoming hundreds of thousands of migrants, a decision which spurred millions more to leave the Middle East and Africa bound for Europe.
Less well known are the numbers that arrived in the decade prior to her controversial decision. From 2005-2015, immigration figures were already showing that Merkel had overseen a staggering eight million immigrant arrivals into Germany, half of which came from other EU states, the other half arriving from beyond Europe.
Despite the hostile reception in Annaberg – which saw Merkel leave the event to calls of ‘’traitor’’ – and similar protests at numerous rallies this week, opinion polls consistently put the CDU on course to comfortably win the German federal elections on September 24th.
Photo Credits: MDR, dpa, Sebastian Kahnert.
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