German authorities launched legal proceedings against 10 people for performing Nazi salutes in Chemnitz, following another night of violent extreme-right protests in the eastern German city, police said Tuesday.
Some 6,000 far-right extremists recruited from across the country and 1,000 left-wing counterdemonstrators marched through central Chemnitz on Monday night, authorities said in a press conference. The far-right demonstration was initiated by a group called Pro Chemnitz set up to protest the fatal stabbing of a 35-year-old German, according to reports.
Authorities will act quickly to determine the course of events and prosecute the perpetrators, Minister-President of Saxony Michael Kretschmer said, insisting there is “no place for extremism” in the region and warning against the role of “fake news” in stoking violence.
Twenty people were injured in the protests, which were attended by known neo-Nazis and regional extreme-right leaders. The demonstrators overwhelmed police, which admitted there were “not enough officials” on the ground and struggled to prevent attacks on counterdemonstrators and journalists, Die Zeit reported.
A number of protestors were seen gathering stones and some 100 were masked, local police tweeted Monday, warning demonstrators that their actions were “being filmed.” The majority of protestors were “young men in dark clothing” recruited from “violent hooligan circles,” according to Die Zeit.
The violent demonstrations followed a first round of riots on Sunday. The first protests drew around 800 people, some of whom reportedly attacked police and people they thought were immigrants, shouting “We are the people” and “You’re not welcome here.”
“I am deeply saddened by this killing. The concern of the population is understandable,” Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said in a statement Tuesday, in which he also offered to federal support to local police forces. “But I want to say clearly that under under circumstances does this justify a call to violence or violent riots.”
The group Pro Chemnitz said it would stage another protest on Thursday and called on donations from supporters to finance the ongoing demonstrations. “The government should hear from us directly that things can’t go on this way. 20,000 foreigners in Chemnitz are too many!” it wrote in a Facebook post.
This article has been updated.