‘I will be at the front!’ — CDU mayor endorses mass Antifa-led protests outside AfD party conference

A huge protest is being planned outside next month's AfD conference in Essen, and the local mayor has said he will be at the front and cannot guarantee the safety of AfD members attending

Alternative for Germany, AfD, parliamentary leader Alice Weidel speaks during a general debate on the budget at the German parliament, the Bundestag, in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2024. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)
By Dénes Albert
3 Min Read

Self-proclaimed anti-fascist activists are planning to protest outside a conference held by the populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) party next month in Essen, and the local CDU mayor appears to have endorsed the disruption.

Antifa groups have been drumming up support for bus trips to Essen on the “Widersetzen” website for weeks, calling for left-wing extremists from across Germany to gatecrash the party conference scheduled for June 28 to 30.

It will be joined by a “broad alliance” of radical left-wing and extreme left-wing groups to protest against the anti-immigration party and Essen’s Mayor Thomas Kufen (CDU) wants to lead the charge.

“There will be a “huge wave of protest, and I myself will be at the front,” he promised TV station WDR. In the run-up to the event, he had tried unsuccessfully to cancel the rental agreement between the AfD and the venue.

The mayor and the threat against the AfD party conference

The head of the city also predicted that “public order and safety may not always be guaranteed” — a rather implicit threat against the well-being of conference attendees at the Essen exhibition halls.

In the immediate vicinity of the venue, the city is now hoping for 80,000 demonstrators from all over Germany and abroad to show the AfD that it is — as the mayor puts it — “not welcome”. In addition to Kufen and Antifa, the mass protest has also been called for by the Young Socialists, the Green Youth, the Alliance for Open-mindedness, Solidarity, Democracy and the Rule of Law, “Essen stellt sich quer, Aufstehen gegen Rassismus,” and various left-wing groups, trade unions, and churches.

Protests within earshot of the exhibition hall

According to the website of the far-left VVN-BdA, there will be a total of “170 individuals and representatives of organizations and initiatives.” In addition to various rallies and vigils, there will be a “market of opportunities” and concerts over the three days. The organizers and possibly also the Lord Mayor are currently trying to attract well-known music bands so that even more counter-demonstrators will come to Essen.

It is important to everyone involved that the protests take place within sight and earshot of the AfD party conference, organizers said. There will also be “means of civil disobedience.” For the delegates, this could lead to a dangerous gauntlet being thrown down — especially as the head of the city does not want to guarantee “public order and safety.”

SOURCES:Junge Freiheit
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