Chemnitz (dpa/sn) – In view of the looming energy crisis and high inflation, Chemnitz social researcher Piotr Kocyba expects a new, violent wave of protests in the fall. “Saxony will be a hotspot here,” said the protest researcher of the German Press Agency. The mood of actors such as the right-wing extremist Freie Sachsen and the Identitarian Movement is already being fueled in social networks. In addition, the left wants to call citizens to demonstrations against the planned gas levy on the street. Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) said in his summer press conference that he did not believe there would be unrest.
He also does not see any unrest in the sense of barricades in the cities and burning cars in Germany, explained Kocyba. However, he expects a further radicalization of protesters in the tone up to fantasies of violence and in dealing with security authorities. If the crisis lasts longer, it cannot be ruled out that people will form terrorist groups, as was the case during the anti-refugee protests in Freital, for example.
Recent events in Heidenau near Dresden give a foretaste of the coming protests and their radicalization, explained Kocyba, who works at Chemnitz University of Technology and is a member of the board of the Berlin Institute for Protest and Movement Research. There, the Free Saxons wanted to stage a staged trial against Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck (Greens) at a rally. The ban on the assembly authority was later confirmed by the courts. Kocyba: “It was a very deliberate provocation and a crossing of boundaries typical of the extreme right.”
The Saxon Office for the Protection of the Constitution recently declared that the right-wing extremists had not yet had any resounding mobilization success with the topic of the energy crisis. However, extremist parties such as the Free Saxons tried to profit from the citizens’ fears of social decline or the “social explosives” caused by rising living costs.
In Saxony, thousands of people took to the streets every week last winter to demonstrate against the corona measures. According to Kocyba, the protests in the fall could reach a similar scale. That depends on how much the energy prices actually rise and whether possible restrictions on the gas supply affect consumers.
He also sees Saxony as a focal point in the future because permanent protest milieus have established themselves here in recent years. “Behind the rejection of the refugee and corona policy is a general rejection of what the demonstrators call mainstream society and what I call democratic consensus.” The scientist explained that rising energy prices are a hot topic that can be mobilized broadly and with force.
In addition, even in the heyday of Pegida, Russian flags were often seen at the rallies. Many participants saw Putin’s Russia as the counter-model to liberal democracy, which they rejected. Accordingly, since the beginning of the Russian war of aggression and in view of the broad support of Ukraine in this country, the mood has been raised in social networks.
© dpa-infocom, dpa:220817-99-413309/2