Merkel greeted with shouts of ‘get out’
CHANCELLOR Angela Merkel was greeted by whistles and shouts of “get out” on arriving in Dresden – birthplace of xenophobic movement Pegida – for German reunification celebrations.
The angry crowd in the east German city also waved signs saying “Merkel must go”.
The German leader has been under pressure over her liberal refugee policy that saw an influx of 1 million migrants last year.
Dresden is hosting celebrations to mark 26 years since the reunification of East and West Germany, with Ms Merkel and President Joachim Gauck in attendance.
Supporters of Pegida, the anti-immigrant, xenophobic group that began in Dresden, also gave Mr Gauck a hostile greeting upon his arrival for the event.
The group initially drew just a few hundred supporters to demonstrations before gaining strength, peaking with rallies of up to 25,000 people in early 2015.
Though Ms Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) took a drubbing in recent regional polls, she insisted that “mutual respect” and “acceptance of very divergent political opinions” are needed to meet the challenges facing Germany.
The right-wing populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) harnessed a wave of anger over the refugee influx to claim around 14 percent of the vote in the Berlin state election last month. –