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26 October, 2015

Things look bad in Europe: far-Right and antifascists 'dangerously close' in rallies

Thousands rallied in Cologne on Sunday as supporters of the ‘Hooligans against Salafists' far-right group and their left-wing opponents took to the streets. Police had to deploy a water cannon in an attempt to control the counter-protest. Law enforcers had earlier sought to ban Sunday’s demonstration by the far-rights. However, a Cologne court dismissed the motion and said the protesters would have the right to gather at a fixed location, but they would not be allowed to march through the city’s streets.”

Hundreds of anti-fascist demonstrators were also expected to confront the radicals. Heavy security presence was to make sure the two crowds would not go head-to-head. Eventually, scuffles broke out between police and left-wingers and a water cannon was deployed in an attempt to push back the crowd, authorities said.”

The far-right rally was organized by the ‘Hooligans against Salafists’ group. The organization, which is also known as HOGESA, is made up of self-styled football hooligans, right-wingers and neo-Nazis. Media estimates put the number of those attending the HOGESA protest at around 600 people.”

The number of demonstrators taking part in a counter-protest in the Cologne’s Deutz district near a railway terminal alone amounted to 4,500 people, German media reports, citing police sources. Meanwhile, a spokesperson from the organizers of the counter protest claimed that 'more than 10,000,' turned up, Swiss 20minuten news reports. At the same time, Die Welt stated the total number of protesters taking part in different demonstrations in Cologne on Sunday reached 23,000.”

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