German police use water cannon to clear protestors at far-right party convention

Around 6,500 protestors marched through Hannover chanting slogans against AfD

Police use a water cannon to clear a street that is blocked by demonstrators near the congress centre where the party convention of the Alternative for Germany, AfD, is held in Hannover, Germany, on December 2nd 2017. Photograph: Peter Steffen/dpa via AP

Police use a water cannon to clear a street that is blocked by demonstrators near the congress centre where the party convention of the Alternative for Germany, AfD, is held in Hannover, Germany, on December 2nd 2017. Photograph: Peter Steffen/dpa via AP

 

German police have used water cannons to disperse hundreds of protesters who tried to block access to a centre where a nationalist party is holding a convention.

Clashes between police and protesters briefly delayed the opening of the Alternative for Germany’s gathering in the city of Hannover.

The number of protesters swelled to about 6,500 later in the day, the German news agency dpa reported. They marched through the city chanting slogans against the party, which won seats in parliament for the first time this year.

Ten protesters were temporarily detained while several police officers and one protester suffered minor injuries.

Police try to clear a street that is blocked by demonstrators near the congress centre where the party convention of the Alternative for Germany, AfD, is held in Hannover. Photograph: Hauke Christian Dittrich/dpa via AP
Police try to clear a street that is blocked by demonstrators near the congress centre where the party convention of the Alternative for Germany, AfD, is held in Hannover. Photograph: Hauke Christian Dittrich/dpa via AP

Alternative for Germany, known as AfD, received almost 13 per cent of the vote in the September 24th federal election, making it the third strongest party in the Bundestag.

The party promoted an anti-immigrant message and campaigned aggressively against Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Its convention includes a leadership race to fill a void created when AfD’s best-known figure abruptly quit the party in September.

Co-chairwoman Frauke Petry said AfD was flirting with far-right extremism she did not want to support.

Ms Petry’s departure left her rival, Joerg Meuthen, alone as chairman. Mr Meuthen is vying for re-election on Saturday at the party’s meeting.

Parliamentary leader Alice Weidel said she would not run and backed Georg Pazderski, AfD’s Berlin-branch leader, as chairman.

Alexander Gauland, the party’s other parliamentary leader, left open the possibility of running. Mr Gauland has suggested he does not support Mr Pazderski. – AP