Tens of Thousands Join Election Rally Against German Far Right

BERLIN – Tens of thousands of demonstrators rallied in Germany on June 8, urging citizens to vote against the far right in the upcoming European Union elections. Carrying placards with messages like “Stop hatred” and “Down with racism,” approximately 30,000 people gathered in central Berlin, according to Campact, one of the civil groups organizing the rally.

Polls suggest that the anti-immigration AfD party could secure up to 15 percent of the vote in Germany on June 9, potentially marking its best performance despite a series of scandals. This would place the AfD in a joint-second position with Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Social Democratic Party, behind the center-right Christian Democrats.

Some demonstrators in Berlin held letters spelling out “Go vote” along with yellow stars reminiscent of the EU flag. “There is no better way to defend democracy than to go and vote tomorrow,” said activist Tareq Alaows of the refugee rights group ProAsyl to the crowd. Similar rallies attracted thousands in Stuttgart, Leipzig, Dresden, Munich, and Frankfurt.

The AfD was expelled from a far-right group within the European Parliament after its top candidate, Maximilian Krah, made comments minimizing the crimes of the Nazis’ SS guards. Among other controversies, Mr. Krah is under investigation for his connections with China after one of his aides was arrested on suspicion of spying for Beijing.

Earlier this year, media reports indicated that members of the party attended discussions on plans for mass expulsions of foreigners from Germany, sparking weeks of mass protests. At his final campaign rally in Duisburg, Mr. Scholz urged people to vote on June 9 “to defend democracy and the rule of law.”