- Title: Protesters jeer at Merkel in Dresden as Germany marks reunification
- Date: 3rd October 2016
- Summary: DRESDEN, GERMANY (OCTOBER 3, 2016) (REUTERS) SQUARE IN FRONT OF SEMPER OPERA, VENUE OF OFFICIAL CELEBRATION SECURITY ON BALCONY CAR CARRYING GERMAN CHANCELLOR ANGELA MERKEL ARRIVING / MERKEL GETTING OUT, BEING GREETED BY DRESDEN MAYOR DIRK HILBERT AND SAXONY'S STATE PRIME MINISTER STANISLAW TILLICH VARIOUS OF TILLICH, MERKEL AND HILBERT POSING FOR PHOTO POLICE CAR CARRYING GERMAN PRESIDENT JOACHIM GAUCK ARRIVING / GAUCK EXITING, BEING GREETED BY HILBERT AND TILLICH PROTESTERS, ONE HOLDING POSTER READING (German) 'MERKEL HAS TO GO' VARIOUS OF GAUCK AND HIS PARTNER DANIELA SCHADT AND TILLICH AND HILBERT CHURCH TOWER VARIOUS OF MERKEL, GAUCK, TILLICH AND PRESIDENT OF GERMAN PARLIAMENT, NORBERT LAMMERT, POSING FOR PHOTO MERKEL WALKING IN FOR STATEMENT (SOUNDBITE) (German) GERMAN CHANCELLOR ANGELA MERKEL, SAYING: "For me personally and for most of the German people, this is still a day of joy and gratitude. But it is also a day on which - 26 years after the German unification - we still see there are new problems, more work to be done. And personally, I hope that we solve those problems together, with mutual respect and acceptance of different political views. And that we find good solutions. And I hope that the people continue to talk, especially in regard to those who do not make an effort. However, I will campaign for that with all my strength. And I know that many others do so as well, and I want to thank them for that on that special day of ours."
- Embargoed: 18th October 2016 12:36
- Keywords: Germany unification Merkel Gauck Stanislaw Tillich
- Location: DRESDEN, GERMANY
- City: DRESDEN, GERMANY
- Country: Germany
- Topics: Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA00152G818N
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Protesters jeered at German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday (October 3) as she attended celebrations in the eastern city of Dresden to mark 26 years since Germany's reunification.
Holding placards reading "Merkel must go", right-wing protesters also shouted the slogan as Merkel, who has faced criticism for her open-door refugee policy, and President Joachim Gauck arrived for the celebrations and greeted spectators.
German media estimated the number of protesters at "several hundred".
Dresden was the cradle of the anti-Islam PEGIDA grassroots movement, whose weekly rallies attracted around 20,000 supporters at their height at the start of 2015.
Last year's arrival of around a million migrants, mainly Muslims fleeing conflict and poverty in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, has increased social tensions.
In a short statement, Merkel, who grew up in East Germany, called for "mutual respect" in the political debate and said she wished that all sides could work together to tackle the new problems regardless of their different political views.
"For my personally and for most of the German people, this still is day of joy and gratitude," she said. "But it is also a day on which - 26 years after the German unification - we still see that there are new problems, more work to be done. And personally, I hope that we solve those problems together, with mutual respect and acceptance of different political views."
"And I hope that the people continue to talk, especially in regard to those who do not make an effort," she continued, hinting strongly at those who voiced their protest upon her arrival.
Saxony's state prime minister Stanislaw Tillich said that he was 'ashamed' to hear those hateful words that "can light the fuse", causing "hatred and violence". He called those xenophobic words "inhuman and deeply unpatriotic".
Security has been tightened for the celebrations, known as German Unity Day, with some 2,600 police officers on duty after two improvised bombs exploded in Dresden last week, one at a mosque and one at an international conference centre.
On Saturday (October 1), three police cars were set alight by unknown perpetrators in the city.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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