BERLIN (AP) — German police called in more than 1,000 officers to prevent violence during a far-right protest Sunday in the eastern town of Koethen, where a man died a week ago following a dispute with two migrants.
News agency dpa reported that water cannons and mounted police were on hand to keep the peace between far-right groups and counter-protesters.
Far-right organizations, including the anti-Islam group PEGIDA, called the protest over the death of a 22-year-old German man in Koethen a week ago.
Authorities have said the man had severe chronic heart disease and that an autopsy showed he suffered a heart attack after being punched in the face. Two Afghan men, ages 18 and 20, have been arrested.
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Officials have expressed concern that the man’s death could lead to physical attacks on migrants of the kind seen in the eastern German city of Chemnitz following the fatal stabbing of a 35-year-old man last month. A Syrian man and an Iraqi man were arrested as suspects in that slaying, while another migrant is being sought by police.
The Anhalt University of Applied Sciences in Koethen warned students to avoid the site of the “potentially violent demonstrations.”
Koethen is located about 125 kilometers (78 miles) southwest of Berlin in Saxony-Anhalt state, where the anti-migrant Alternative for Germany party received almost a fifth of the vote last year.
Police reported that a 17-year-old Afghan man was attacked by Germans in the town of Hasselfelde, Saxony-Anhalt, late Saturday. In a separate incident, three Somalis were attacked Saturday by a group of Germans in the nearby town of Halberstadt.