Protesters gather following man’s death in German town
Fears of more anti-immigrant tensions as two Afghans detained
People take part in a mourning march in Koethen, eastern Germany following the killing of a 22-year-old man. Photograph: Odd Andersen / AFP
A 22-year-old German man died overnight in the eastern town of Koethen and two Afghans have been detained on suspicion of killing him, the police and the public prosecutor’s office said on Sunday.
The police and the public prosecutor’s office said in a short statement: “Two Afghans were provisionally detained on suspicion of homicide ... The reasons for, and concrete circumstances of, the incident are not yet known.”
News of the death followed the killing of another German man in the city of Chemnitz, southeast of Koethen, for which two asylum seekers – a Syrian and an Iraqi – were arrested. The most violent right-wing protests in decades followed the August 26th killing in Chemnitz.
At dusk in Koethen, both far-right and left-wing protesters began assembling to demonstrate. The state premier of Saxony-Anhalt, home to Koethen, said protests there must not turn out like those in Chemnitz.
“Every attempt to turn Koethen, as is being said on the internet, into a second Chemnitz, must be rejected,” the Mitteldeutsche Zeitung newspaper quoted state premier Reiner Haseloff as saying. In its online edition, the paper identified the man who died in Koethen as Markus B and said he died of acute heart failure.
Germany is deeply divided over chancellor Angela Merkel’s 2015 decision to accept more than a million migrants, many of them refugees from wars in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. A row over the veracity of reports that supporters of the far right hounded migrants in Chemnitz has inflamed tensions over immigration in Merkel’s “grand coalition” only two months after she reached a truce with her Bavarian sister party on the same issue.