German police dispatch 1,000 officers ahead of right-wing protests

Koethen, Germany -By Doerthe Hein and Franziska Hoehnl, - More than a thousand police officers from across Germany were dispatched to the eastern German town of Koethen on Sunday to monitor anti-immigration protests later in the evening.

The demonstrations, set to start at 5:30 pm (1530 GMT), are the latest in a number of far-right marches that have gripped eastern Germany in recent weeks.
Right-wing protests in the city of Chemnitz - some of the most violent in recent German history - were triggered by the fatal stabbing of a German man allegedly at the hands of two asylum seekers on August 26. Video footage later emerged that showed people of non-German appearance being targeted on the sidelines of the rallies.
Protests spread to the town of Koethen last week after a 22-year-old German man with a heart condition intervened in a fight between several Afghan citizens there. He was punched in the face and subsequently died of a heart attack. Two suspects are in police custody.
Police were meanwhile investigating attacks on foreigners in two nearby towns in the eastern German state of Saxony-Anhalt, officials said on Sunday.
Police said two men, believed to be German, had attacked a group of young Afghans on Saturday night at a sports field in Hasselfelde, a town in the eastern part of the state's Harz district.
According to police findings, the men approached the group of four Afghans swearing and using racist hate speech. A 17-year-old boy was then hit and lightly injured before the attackers fled the scene.
A second attack happened in the early hours of Sunday morning in town of Halberstadt, about 30 kilometres from Hasselfelde.
According to police, a group of five heavily intoxicated Germans hurled racial insults at three Somali asylum seekers on their way home.
The three Somalis and one of the suspects, a 22-year-old man, were then injured when a fight broke out. All four were treated in hospital but released after a short time.
Investigations were ongoing in both cases.

Sunday, September 16th 2018
By Doerthe Hein and Franziska Hoehnl,

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