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German nationalists march in Berlin, face counter-protests

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Supporters of the Alternative for Germany party marched through central Berlin to protest against Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government Sunday, and were kept away from a raft of counter-demonstrations by a heavy police presence.

Police said over 5,000 people turned out for the demonstration organized by the anti-migration Alternative for Germany, known by its German acronym AfD.

The AfD event opened with German flags, placards such as “No Islam in Germany” and chants of “Merkel must go” outside Berlin’s central train station. The party’s supporters then marched to the landmark Brandenburg Gate. Opponents chanted “Nazis out” from the other side of the monument.

Some of the counter-protesters took to rafts on the Spree river, within sight of the train station. Groups organizing protests against AfD included artists and a coalition of Berlin music clubs hoping to “blow away” the party with loud techno beats.

About 2,000 police officers were in place to prevent trouble, including reinforcements from other parts of Germany. The march concluded without significant trouble.

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