According to the DPA news agency, the rallies in Chemnitz gathered a total of 11,000 protesters, demanding immediate deportation of all undocumented migrants from Germany. Local media suggested the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) party has won solid support in the state and reportedly poised to become at least Saxony's second biggest political force in the next regional elections.
"When it comes to xenophobia, right-wing extremism and racism, Germany is watched especially critically — rightfully. When the Nazi greeting is again shown today in our streets, it's a shame for our country. We must resist the ultra-right. We should not behave as if nothing is happening. We must show up against neo-Nazis and anti-Semites," Heiko Maas was quoted as saying by Bild.
Starting 2015, Germany took in several million refugees as part of what German Chancellor Angela Merkel called an "open-door policy" amid the European migration crisis.
Meanwhile, right-wing parties are surging in elections throughout much of Europe in response to a unprecedented influx of undocumented migrants, mainly from the Middle East and North Africa.