AfD and friends practically invisible during party conference in Augsburg.
For June 29th and July 1st 2018 Augsburg had something in mind. The AfD (Germany`s far right wing party) had announced to hold its ninth federal party conference here. The normal reaction to political events like this meanwhile is that the city, its offices, authorities and its citizens are preparing that it gets uncomfortable. The exhibition hall made available to the AfD was located a few kilometres outside the city centre of Augsburg, between university faculties and sports fields, was sealed off by the police.
Security forces from all over the country are being assembled, planners are changing traffic management, closing roads, bridges and squares. Some shops in downtown are preparing their customers days before the convention that they would then be closed, citizens are preparing for counter-events.
The Juso (young socials) chairman Kevin Kühnert had announced his appearance, as had the green vice-president of the Bundestag Claudia Roth. Some bars and cafes in Augsburg had announced to rave against the right-wingers and many initiatives such as nature conservation associations, trade unions and church associations were present with information stands, concerts, vigils and rallies. They clearly showed how colourful Augsburg is and how unwilling it was to become a synonym for racism and narrow-minded xenophobia. “ZEIG DICH AUX” (SHOW UP, AUGSBURG) was the label of the alliance for human dignity and at the same time the bracket for many meetings for solidarity, democracy and humanity around the AfD congress.
Pegida event washed away by wave of cheerfulness
The weather played Augsburg into the cards and transformed the city centre into a large, colourful and cheerful party zone where you could exchange interesting facts and discover things that connect you. The AfD and their friends were excluded for both self- and security interests.
The Pegida had planned a rally beginning on Saturday in the middle of the city at the Thormannbrunnen. But hardly anyone in Augsburg seemed to have taken notice of it until the beginning of the event. A handful of passers-by and cyclists stopped for a moment, asked questions and went on immediately. The Pegida people set up their tents and loudspeakers under heavy protests from local school groups, LGBT initiatives, anti-Fa groups that had travelled to the area, and many politically interested and committed citizens. And under massive police protection. They defiantly barricade themselves behind pizza covers and newspapers as it becomes clear that today they would not reach anyone listening their theses.
And so a deep brown, humorless sidekick of AfD Party Day was washed away by a colorful wave of cheerfulness and witty resistance. On the Sunday after I am shortly peeping the Thormannbrunnen before my departure just to see what was going on: Nothing! Nobody there but some lost pegidists. Not even the police.