Police say more than 200 masked right-wing supporters went on a rampage in Leipzig, Germany on Monday night while lighting fireworks, breaking windows and vandalising buildings.
Anger had erupted amongst right-wing groups after a gang of young migrant men allegedly sexually assaulted women on New Years.
Chancellor Angela Merkel was criticised regarding Germany’s open-door refugee policy and public scepticism grew after she declared that Germany can cope with the 1.1 million migrants that arrived in the country last year.
A group of 2000 Anti-Muslim “LEGIDA” protesters marched passively in the city centre while a second group of 211 people set off fireworks, erected barricades and vandalised properties. The upper floor of one building caught fire.
The group carried a placard reading “Leipzig bleibt helle”, meaning Leipzig stays light, to symbolise a discriminatory reference to migrant skin colours.
Police said that the 211 people were already on record as being right-wing sympathisers and members of violent groups.
LEGIDA protesters shouted “Merkel must go” and displayed placards showing the chancellor in a Muslim head scarf reading "Merkel, take your Muslims with you and get lost."
Merkel is under growing pressure to toughen her stance on refugee intake with the number of migrants arriving in Europe expected to rise further this year.
An INSA poll in Bild Daily showed 2 points higher for Germany’s right-wing alternative (AFD) at 11.5%, which strongly criticised Merkel’s refugee policy, while Merkel’s conservative bloc was down 1 point at 35%.