Why Saxony rioted against foreigners

The murder of a German man led to a full-blown pogrom in Chemnitz, Saxony, last Sunday, with an angry mob beating everyone looking "foreign" (read: dark-skinned). But why in Saxony?

Daria Sukharchuk
Daria Sukharchuk NewsMavens, Central & Eastern Europe
Why Saxony rioted against foreigners - NewsMavens
German school, PixaBay

Why this story matters:

Saxony, a federal state in the eastern part of Germany, doesn't have the largest immigrant population -- especially when one compares its cities to those like Berlin, or Hamburg. But it's not the first time that it has becomes the scene of xenophobic protests -- back in 2014 PEGIDA, the movement of "Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West", was born in Dresden, the local capital, and in 2016 an angry mob attacked a bus of refugees in Clausnitz.

This time, hundreds of people marched through the streets of Chemnitz, chanting "Foreigners -- out!".

Why, then, is this happening there?

There are several reason --- the right-wing scene is stronger and more established, and the local government is somehow more tolerant of it than in other states. Saxony is also slightly poorer than its Western neighbors. The lack of diversity may lead to less tolerance simply because locals aren't used to foreign-looking people.

But what if the reason lies elsewhere -- in schools? This seems plausible. Spiegel talked to two teachers from Saxony and compared the school curricula for political education in Saxony and other states. This comparison has indeed shown that children in Saxony spend less time learning about politics.

However, in the article recommended below, the local teacher argues that it's not their job to fix society and that many children bring racist prejudices from their families.

Still, more emphasis on humane values and inclusivity might be in order to avoid more protests of this kind.

Details from the story:

  • Chemnitz, a town on Saxony, saw 3 days of radical right- and left-wing protests. 10 people were arrested for making the Nazi salute (a criminal offense in Germany)
  • Several people also suffered physical injuries at the hands of the angry mob.
  • It all started on Sunday, August 26, when a 35-year old man was killed in a fight with 2 refugees from Syria and Iraq. Two of his friends were taken to a hospital, and the offenders were caught on the same day.
  • Since the far-right seems to be particularly active in Saxony, many are wondering if there is something wrong the local policies in this land.
  • It seems like the local school curriculum does not emphasize political education as much as other lands do. 

Project #Femfacts co-financed by European Commission Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology as part of the Pilot Project – Media Literacy For All

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