Foreigners ‘hunted down’ by extremists during far-right riots in Germany, report

Planned attacks by known extremists on non-white people during riots in Chemnitz are revealed in official reports

TOPSHOT - Right wing demonstrators light flares on August 27, 2018 in Chemnitz, eastern Germany, following the death of a 35-year-old German national who died in hospital after a "dispute between several people of different nationalities", according to the police. - The far-right street movement PEGIDA called for a second day of protests in Chemnitz in ex-communist eastern Germany after the alleged fatal stabbing of a German man by a foreigner. (Photo by Odd ANDERSEN / AFP)

Extremists made plans to hunt down foreigners during major far-right demonstrations sparked by the killing of a German man in the city of Chemnitz, according to a police investigation.

A police report seen by German media revealed that extremists had exchanged messages between August 26 and August 28 last year planning to “hunt” migrants and people of foreign appearance.

Violent anti-immigrant protests began hours after Daniel Hillig was fatally stabbed on August 26 following a festival to celebrate the founding of Chemnitz. Two immigrants, one Iraqi and one Syrian, were named as suspects on social media in the hours after the killing.

The demonstrations organised by far-right groups in the city in the eastern state of Saxony turned into riots, which lasted until August 27. Footage on social media appeared to show extremists chasing after non-white people and attacking police.

Following the riots, a debate was sparked in Germany about whether foreigners were hunted down or not and causing a heated controversy within the German coalition government.

Days after the unrest, domestic spy chief Hans-Georg Maassen was transferred out of his role by Chancellor Angela Merkel after he questioned the authenticity of video footage showing street violence and voiced doubt that racists had “hunted down” foreigners.

The police report, using the messages as evidence, said that "the actual implementation of violent criminal acts against foreigners" did take place, according to German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung.

Known members of Chemnitz’s far-right extremist groups planned “hunts” and then boasted about the success they had had after the riots.

The unrest involved a "great readiness to use violence against police officials, people with actual or apparent migration backgrounds, political opponents and journalists", according to the police report via Süddeutsche Zeitung.

The leaked report comes days before voters in Saxony go to the polls in a state election, in which the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party is expected to be the big winner.

The neighbouring state of Brandenburg will also hold a state election on the same day. The AfD have won three out of five polls in the state, which is currently governed by the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) and the radical Left Party.