German police deploy water cannon to disperse
Police in the western German city of Cologne have broken up a protest by the "anti-Islamization" group PEGIDA. Water cannon were used to disperse demonstrators protesting after the New Year's Eve attacks on women.
Police on Saturday moved to disband the crowd of protesters after bottles and crackers were thrown at officers.
“Merkel must go” was another popular rallying cry with the demonstrators. The far-right supporters are infuriated with German Chancellor Angela Merkel for her soft stance on refugees, and statements that the country could accept over a million asylum seekers.
Supporters of PEGIDA were met by a counter-demonstration from leftist groups and activists. The two rival factions were kept apart by a large police presence.
The anti-PEGIDA supporters chanted “Nazi pigs” and “Nazi’s out.” One slogan on a sign held by a demonstrator read: “There is nothing right about Nazi propaganda,” while another stated: “Fascism is not an opinion, it is a crime,” AFP reported.
Eyewitnesses said most of the offenders looked to be of North African or Arab origin. The incidents have fueled xenophobic sentiment in some quarters of German society, as the country struggles to cope with a huge influx of refugees and migrants, most of them coming from the Middle East and Africa.
Flashmob for women's rights.
Earlier in the day, several hundred women gathered in front of the cathedral in Cologne, situated near the central train station where the attacks mostly took place, to protest against violence to women (top photo).
They carried banners bearing slogans such as "No means no. That is our law. Keep off us," according to a reporter from AFP news agency.
The flashmob was called by women's groups on the Internet.
DPA news agency reported that some 1,000 people also demonstrated against both racism and sexism, with speakers warning against exploiting the New Year's Eve attacks to fuel xenophobic sentiment. Read the full story here.
Swiss artist Milo Moiré protest naked at #Cologne Dom: "We are not fair game . Even if we are naked'' #Germany pic.twitter.com/vArKuVCfGM— MFS - The Other News (@MFS001) January 9, 2016