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200 Far-right Extremists Arrested in Germany

  • VOA News

PEGIDA activists rally against the German government's refugee and migrant policies, in Leipzig, eastern Germany, Jan. 11, 2016.

PEGIDA activists rally against the German government's refugee and migrant policies, in Leipzig, eastern Germany, Jan. 11, 2016.

German police arrested more than 200 far-right extremists who went on a rampage in the eastern city of Leipzig, setting cars on fire and damaging property.

The chaos began late Monday, at about the same time thousands of supporters of the anti-migrant PEGIDA movement demonstrated, carrying signs with slogans like “RAPEfugees not welcome” and “Freedom for Germany.”

Counter-demonstrators, led by Leipzig Mayor Burkhard Jung, carried a banner saying "Welcome in Leipzig" and signs saying "No PEGIDA."

PEGIDA, in German, stands for Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the Western World.

Leipzig police spokesman Andreas Leopki said many of the suspected offenders, known to police as football hooligans were supporters of teams FC Lokomotive Leipzig and Hallescher FC.

Germany has been outraged by a rash of attacks on women in the western city of Cologne on New Year's Eve that has been blamed on migrants.

As PEGIDA supporters rallied in Leipzig to blame refugees for the violence, a group of hooligans nearby smashed windows, burned cars and garbage bins and shot fireworks that set a floor of a building on fire.

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