The audience was initially respectful when the co-leader of the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, Alexander Gauland, took to the podium during a Wednesday session to speak about migration and Syria.
“The interior minister has called migration the mother of all problems. We should fight against the root causes of migration in Africa and Asia,” Gauland said.
He went on to speak against the possibility of the German military being deployed to Syria, an idea which Christian Democratic Union (CDU) politicians have said the army is considering.
“This would have two results: German involvement in Syria would create more reasons for migration and the army could come into military confrontation with Russian forces. War against Russia, Ms Merkel, I hope that you don’t really want to take that risk.”
It wasn’t until Gauland sat back down in his seat that the voice of former Social Democrats leader Martin Schulz was heard.
“Mr. Gauland, that bird sh*t is a dung heap, and that’s where you belong in German history,” he said. The words prompted a smirk on the face of Gauland, who did not respond.
Business then continued as usual, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel taking to the stand. “I hear the outrage and I understand it and I share in the [understanding of the] reasons behind it,” she said.
She went on to state that no amount of outrage is justification for demonstrations of hatred against others. “There is no excuse or reason for inciting hatred or for the use of violence and Nazi slogans, or for attacks on people who look different or own Jewish restaurants, or for attacks on the police…”
Her words came on the same day that a rally in the German city of Halle saw scuffles with police and the use of Nazi salutes and slogans. It was the latest in a wave of demonstrations from both the far-right and far-left, after two Germans died in brawls with migrants. The scene of one of those deaths, Chemnitz, saw violent clashes between rival right-wing and anti-fascist protesters earlier this month, leading to 11 people being hospitalized.
Germany continues to be divided on the country’s migration policy, with anti-immigrant sentiment growing since the 2015 refugee crisis, which saw the country take in more than one million mainly Muslim asylum seekers.