Germany AdF meeting: Clashes before far-right conference

BBC, April 30: Hundreds of left-wing demonstrators have tried to block people entering a far-right party conference in the German city of Stuttgart.

The Alternative fur Deutschland (AfD) party is expected to re-brand itself as openly anti-Islamic during the meeting.

Police, who surrounded several hundred protesters, fired pepper spray at crowds. Close to 1,000 officers were deployed.

The AfD wants to ban the burqa and outlaw minarets in Germany.

Despite the protest, the conference began as planned on Saturday morning.

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Nearly 2,000 members of the AfD are registered to attend the conference. The party achieved gains in all three states taking part in regional elections last month, claiming almost a quarter of the vote in the relatively poor eastern state of Saxony-Anhalt.

It had campaigned against what it called Chancellor Angela Merkel’s “catastrophic” decision to accept a million migrants and refugees in 2015.