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28 Jul 2022, 12:25
Sören Amelang

German right-wing extremists mobilise for autumn protests against high energy prices

Tagesspiegel Background

Far-right extremists in Germany have started to mobilise for a “hot autumn” of protests against soaring energy prices on social media, reports energy and climate newsletter Tagesspiegel Background. The Telegram channel of extreme right-wing party “Free Saxony,” which authorities classify as extremist, warns of a “climate dictatorship,” arguing the government purposefully provokes an emergency to destroy Germany’s economy instead of using Russian gas supplies, according to the article. “Soon the temperature police will storm into your homes with a thermometer,” the channel says. “Even if it’s still midsummer: Many will soon be very cold if we do not wake up and rise up.” In a similar vein, extremist campaign network “One percent” says: “This crisis is preordained, so we can prepare for a 'hot' autumn, a 'hot' winter, even if we have to freeze. This gives us time to set the right course now.”

The German government is very concerned about the social consequences of soaring energy prices and has launched several programmes to support citizens. But many experts warn that the full impact of rising prices is yet to be felt, with the country’s grid agency expecting a tripling of household gas bills from 2023. An analysis conducted earlier this month stated the energy crisis threatens to push even German middle class households into “energy poverty”, where a household’s energy bills exceed 10 percent of net income.

A survey had shown 44 percent of the population can imagine to protest against high energy prices, the article says. "If the fears are confirmed and there is a recession, more inflation and unemployment, then there will be good reason to demonstrate," Stefan Lauer, who analyses far-right extremists at the Amadeu Antonio Foundation, told the newsletter. "People who can't pay their bills will have the urge to take to the streets." He added it was still an open question which protests they will join, and warned that right-wing demonstrations will already be there, waiting for more people. Lauer said alternative demonstrations offered by democratic actors were needed to prevent a strong showing at right-wing protests. He called on labour unions to organise protests against high prices or government policies.

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