Europe migrant crisis: Angela Merkel faces heckling on refugees

Europe migrant crisis: Angela Merkel faces heckling on refugees, by David Charter.

The whistling and shouting reached its climax when Angela Merkel insisted that Germany’s strength lay in its diversity and thanked her audience for helping to cope with the influx of migrants. …

The long-serving chancellor came to the former East Germany on the election trail this week and defended her refugee policy, despite the noise made by a small number of nationalists. …

“We know the past years were not easy,” she began, as hecklers in the open-air venue in the town of Apolda chanted “liar, liar” and “Merkel must go”.

From vantage points around the edge of the 2000-strong crowd police kept watch through binoculars while other officers mingled with the two dozen people doing the heckling. Mrs Merkel likes to address rallies without protective screening and it makes the security services palpably nervous.

Even among her core supporters some doubt the wisdom of her refugee policy – but they still believe she is the best choice for chancellor.

“It was perhaps her one mistake,” said Ramona, a nurse, who travelled from the nearby city of Erfurt to hear Mrs Merkel speak. “It is going to be tough in the next few years – it was just young men who came, and they have to find work. But we are standing by Merkel. It was the ethical thing to do.” …

In eastern Germany the nationalist AfD has the highest support but nationally it is polling at barely 8 per cent. One of Mrs Merkel’s hecklers, Erwin Schmidt, 70, said: “She has divided the German people with her asylum policy. She let in illegal immigrants without passport or papers, she opened the doors for terrorism, for Islam, and we do not want her any longer.”

Will those be Europe’s famous last words: “it was just young men who came, and they have to find work.”.