400 Protesters Arrested in Germany for Disrupting Far-right Party Conference

STUTTGART, GERMANY - APRIL 30:  Anti-AFD demonstrators and police forces face near the AfD (Alternative fuer Deutschland) party's federal congress at the Stuttgart Congress Centre ICS on April 30, 2016 in Stuttgart, Germany. The AfD, a relative newcomer to the German political landscape, has emerged from Euro-sceptic conservatism towards a more right-wing leaning appeal based in large part on opposition to Germany's generous refugees and migrants policy. Since winning seats in March elections in three German state parliaments the party has sharpened its tone, calling for a ban on minarets and claiming that Islam does not belong in Germany. (PHOTO CREDIT: Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images)
STUTTGART, GERMANY – APRIL 30: Anti-AFD demonstrators and police forces face near the AfD (Alternative fuer Deutschland) party’s federal congress at the Stuttgart Congress Centre ICS on April 30, 2016 in Stuttgart, Germany. The AfD, a relative newcomer to the German political landscape, has emerged from Euro-sceptic conservatism towards a more right-wing leaning appeal based in large part on opposition to Germany’s generous refugees and migrants policy. Since winning seats in March elections in three German state parliaments the party has sharpened its tone, calling for a ban on minarets and claiming that Islam does not belong in Germany. (PHOTO CREDIT: Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images)

German police arrested 400 protesters Saturday for trying to block people entering a far-right party conference in the city of Stuttgart in southwest Germany. Several protesters demonstrated against the national convention of the populist Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) party.

Police reportedly fired pepper spray at crowds who had temporarily blocked a nearby highway and burned tires on another road leading to the convention center. The meeting, where AfD was expected to rebrand itself as openly anti-Islamic, began as planned despite the protests. About 1,000 police officers were deployed to prevent violent clashes between the far-right party members and protesting demonstrators.

Protesters were shouting slogans like “refugees can stay, Nazis must go,” German news agency Deutsche Presse-Agentur reported.

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SOURCE: International Business Times, Suman Varandani