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German mayors against the right

Bürgermeister gegen Rechts

> Hamburg Mayor: “There is no place for racism in Hamburg.”

> Leipzig Mayor: “The ideology of the far-right makes me want to vomit.”

> Munich Mayor: “When tens of thousands of my fellow citizens speak out against racism and hate, I am proud to be their mayor.”

> Stuttgart Mayor: “Right-wing extremist movements are trying to undermine our basic democratic order.”

> Havixbeck Mayor: “I am very worried about the threat to our democracy.”



German mayors against the Right (from left): Eliza Diekmann (Coesfeld, North Rhine-Westphalia), Peter Tschentscher (Hamburg), Gabriele Zull (Fellbach, Baden-Württemberg)


The largest protest movement in post-war Germany

February 2024: Since mid-January 2024, millions of Germans have taken part in demonstrations against right-wing extremist parties, groups and their ideologies. The people came from all parts of Germany. They were old and they were young. Hundreds of thousands protested in Hamburg and Berlin. But citizens have also come together in small towns in the Erzgebirge (Ore Mountains), the Schwarzwald (Black Forest) and on the Schäbische Alp (Swabian Alp) to take a stand against the New Right and its hatred. Weekly protests have taken place in medieval towns in West and East Germany where citizens met under the slogan 'Never again'. Never again should Nazi ideology gain a foothold in Germany.

 

The wave of protest that is now sweeping across the German states from the coasts in the North to the Alps in the South is the largest in post-war Germany.

 

The trigger to the current wave of protests against right-wing extremism in Germany was a meeting between far-right propagandists and politicians from the AfD party (Alternative for Germany) and the Werteunion, the rightist wing of Germany’s main opposition party the CDU (Christian Democratic Union) in a villa in Potsdam, south of Berlin.

 

The media outlet ‘Correctiv’ made the Potsdam meeting public. The meeting’s agenda centred around the idea of re-migration, a term used by right-wing extremists when they discuss large-scale deportation of people of foreign origin, if necessary, by force. At times, AfD politicians have also used the term.

 

 

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier

All political parties represented in the German National Parliament (Bundestag), except the far-right AfD, strongly support the protests. German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier has thanked the millions of demonstrators against right-wing extremism for their commitment to democracy. "These people give us all courage. They defend our republic and our Basic Law (German constitution) against its enemies. They are defending our humanity," he said in Berlin.

 

 

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz took part in a demonstration at his home in Potsdam. "What we are currently experiencing here in our country concerns us all - every one of us," emphasised Scholz. "I will say it clearly and harshly: right-wing extremists are attacking our democracy. They want to destroy our cohesion."

 

Parliamentary opposition leader Friedrich Merz from the centre-right Christian Democrats (CDU) described the nationwide demonstrations against right-wing extremism with thousands of participants as encouraging. "The 'silent' majority is raising its voice and showing that it wants to live in a country that is open to the world and free."

 

 

North Rhine-Westphalia State Premier

North Rhine-Westphalia State Premier Hendrik Wüst said: "These days, tens of thousands of people throughout our region are showing civil courage. They are raising their voices in Cologne, Duisburg, Dortmund, Essen and many other cities and demonstrating peacefully against racism and right-wing extremism - and thus in favour of a Germany that is open to the world." "They are all urgently demonstrating that there is no place for arsonists and agitators in our country. Thank you for this important sign of democracy."

 

 

International Auschwitz Committee

The International Auschwitz Committee thanked the people who protested across Germany. "Holocaust survivors are more than grateful to all those who are taking to the streets these days against the hatred and lies of the far-right. They see these demonstrations as a powerful sign from the citizens and a revitalisation of democracy that they have long hoped and waited for," said Executive Vice President Christoph Heubner.

 

 

Mayors from large cities and small towns

The city mayors of large German metropolises, the mayors of hundreds of small and medium-sized towns and the leaders of rural communities (Landräte) gave the nationwide protests their strongest support. Not only did the municipalities make it possible for the protests to take place undisturbed and peacefully, but the mayors were proud of and grateful for the commitment of their fellow citizens.

 

 

German Association of Towns and Cities

The Association of German Towns and Cities (Deutscher Städtetag) wrote in a declaration (Trier Deklaration) that human dignity, democracy and the rule of law must be defended repeatedly. "The recently publicised meeting between AfD functionaries and members of the Identitarian movement and the deportation of millions of people from Germany discussed there has shocked us all. We will not accept that right-wing extremist forces are fuelling an atmosphere of uncertainty, fear and hatred in our country and our cities.

 

“People from different backgrounds live together in our cities - as neighbours, as colleagues, as friends, as family. This is the reality of life in our urban societies. That is what makes our cities special. Our cities belong to all the people who live here. We do not accept that citizens, families and even children in our cities must be afraid of being driven out.”

 

 

Mayor of Munich

In the Bavarian capital, Mayor Dieter Reiter was "overwhelmed by the sign that the people of Munich have set in favour of democracy and against racism, anti-Semitism and right-wing agitation." He continued: "These are the moments when I am proud to be the Mayor of Munich: “When hundreds of thousands of people are here to speak out against hate and discrimination, against a political shift to the right in Germany, in Bavaria, but also in Munich."

 

 

Mayor of Hamburg

In Hamburg, Mayor Peter Tschentscher took part in the demonstration against right-wing extremism and neo-Nazi networks. He explained: "Hamburg is a cosmopolitan city. A city of tolerance. Everyone is welcome here, including those seeking protection. There is no place for racism here."

 

 

Mayor of Leipzig

In Leipzig, city councillors joined in the protest against right-wing extremism. During the rally, Mayor Burkhard Jung spoke to the demonstrators. The Mayor read out racist quotes from AfD politicians and commented: "I can't think of anything to say about this except: it makes me want to vomit!"

 

 

Young mayors of Germany

More than 100 young German mayors signed a declaration against far-right extremism

“As young mayors, we stand together for the values of diversity, tolerance and respectful coexistence. We are concerned about the deportation plans of right-wing extremist activists centred around the AfD, which aim to discriminate against and expel people based on their origin.”

 

“Our cities and communities are places of diversity and cohesion, where people of different backgrounds and beliefs live and work together. This diversity makes us strong and resilient in the face of extremist endeavours. In recent days, numerous demonstrations for cohesion and democracy in many cities have shown that we are a resilient democracy.”

 

 

Mayors from the Münsterland region (North Rhine-Westphalia)

Mayors from the Münsterland region are protesting against right-wing extremism in a joint initiative.

 

"We are worried about the continued existence of democracy," says Jörn Möltgen, Mayor of Havixbeck and initiator of the protest, summarising the reason for the action. In discussions with colleagues from the region, it was spontaneously decided: "We are in favour of diversity, tolerance and respectful coexistence. Who else, if not us?" says the Green politician. 14 mayors have spontaneously united to protest and want to gather behind a banner with the words "Mayors against right-wing extremism and in favour of democracy" at an anti-AfD demonstration. Among those taking part are Coesfeld Mayor Eliza Diekmann, Katrin Rauscher from Sendenhorst and Karl Piochowiak from Ostbevern. Münster's Mayor Markus Lewe will also be joining the protests.

 

 

Mayors from Baden-Württemberg

Dozens of city mayors from Baden-Württemberg have joined forces against right-wing groups in politics and called for protests. Right-wing extremist movements are attempting to undermine the basic democratic order in Germany, according to a statement by 30 mayors from the region. Everyone is now called upon to speak out in favour of a democratic future for the country. "This means responsibility for all of us," the mayors appealed, calling for a "solidarity of the democratic centre".

 

 

Mayors from the Stuttgart region

Local politicians from the Stuttgart region called for a "solidarity of the democratic centre" for democracy and against right-wing extremism. "We are very concerned about the current developments in our society: “Right-wing extremist movements are trying to undermine our basic democratic order," reads an open letter from 30 mayors. The first signatories include Frank Nopper from Stuttgart, Boris Palmer from Tübingen, Matthias Knecht from Ludwigsburg, Carmen Haberstroh from Metzingen and Matthias Klopfer from Esslingen, who initiated the campaign.



PLEASE SUGGEST: Please suggest a mayor who has spoken out against the far-right. Please provide the town, city or village, the federal state and his/her name together with some information.

Bitte schlagen Sie einen Bürgermeister vor, der sich gegen Rechtsextremismus ausgesprochen hat. Bitte geben Sie die Stadt, den Ort, das Bundesland und seinen/ihren Namen zusammen mit einigen Informationen an. Email




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