Protesters at German Right-Wing Party Meeting Clash With Police

  • Officers detain 400 rioters at Alternative for Germany event
  • Populist party opposes Merkel’s open-border refugee policy

Protesters against Germany’s anti-immigration party clashed with police outside a national convention in Stuttgart after being barred from entering.

More than 400 rioters were detained after failing to gain access to the fairground where members of Alternative for Germany were meeting, said Lambert Maute, a spokesman for the police in Reutlingen. More than 1,000 protesters tried to stop party members arriving by setting fire to tires on the highway, while others clashed with delegates at the airport, he said.

After sweeping into three German state assemblies in March, the AfD, as the party is known in German, is meeting this weekend to decide its platform. While initially centered on opposition to the euro and taxpayer-funded bailout policies, it’s now known for rejecting Chancellor Angela Merkel’s open-door policy toward refugees and warning against Islamic influence.

"The situation has calmed down at the convention site as protests move into the inner city of Stuttgart,” Maute said by phone, adding “we remain on alert for this evening and tomorrow.” More than 1,000 police were deployed around the site this morning, he said.

A Forsa poll this week suggested 10 percent support for the AfD among German voters, down one percentage point from a week earlier. Other national surveys suggest the party could win 14 percent of the vote if elections were held now.