A total of 55 people were injured following altercations outside an AfD (Alternative für Deutschland) conference in Offenburg, Baden-Württemberg, Saturday, March 4th, between left-wing protesters and police.
Fifty-three of those injured were police who were attacked with fire extinguishers and pyrotechnic flares, with 20 arrests being made on the grounds of breach of the peace and assault on police officers.
Clashes began after a crowd of approximately 400 masked ‘antifascists’ diverted from a peaceful 1,200-person rally nearby and attempted to disrupt the AfD conference. Police responded with the use of batons, resulting in 2 protestors being injured.
According to a press statement, officers were left with bruises and burns after being attacked by protesters, with mainstream antiracist groups disavowing the violence against police. Seventeen police officers were left incapacitated by the scuffles. Authorities confirmed that they would continue to identify perpetrators using the intelligence gathered.
The CDU-affiliated mayor of Offenburg had previously refused requests to order the cancellation of the AfD conference.
The conservative publication Junge Freiheit blasted politicians for not doing more to condemn the organised violence, with AfD chairman Alice Weidel wishing injured police officers a quick recovery.
This is not the first time violence has been directed at the party. In 2019, AfD lawmaker Frank Magnitz survived an attempted assassination attempt by activists, and confrontations similar to the one on Saturday have been common outside AfD events.
The AfD, which marked its tenth anniversary last week, has been under mounting pressure since it was officially put under state surveillance due to accusations of extremism.
Among the motions AfD delegates voted on at the Offenburg conference were objections to further arms for Ukraine and opposition to new policies on LGBT education in schools. The AfD has seen its support rise in recent months, driven by its scepticism of the German government’s policy on the Ukrainian war.