Left-wingers are registering a demonstration against the federal government’s energy and social policies – and right-wingers are trying to get involved: seven demonstrations in Leipzig at the same time keep the police on their toes.

Thousands of right-wing and left-wing demonstrators protested against the federal government’s energy and social policies in downtown Leipzig – simultaneously, but separately. A large police force managed to keep the political camps largely apart on Monday evening. The mood was partly aggressive, there was a scuffle. The police did not report any major incidents until the end of the demos.

The background to the protests is the sharp rise in energy and food prices. The traffic light coalition of SPD, Greens and FDP in the federal government announced a package worth 65 billion euros at the weekend to relieve citizens. The protesters consider this insufficient.

The party Die Linke had registered the largest demo with up to 4000 participants under the motto “Hot autumn against social cold”. Among others, party leader Martin Schirdewan and former faction leader Gregor Gysi spoke there. They accused the federal government of being partly to blame for the very high energy and food prices and called for effective relief.

In addition, there were six other registered rallies from left and right, including the right-wing extremist splinter party Freie Sachsen. After a rally on Augustusplatz, they tried to cross the Leipziger Ring. But some of the right-wing participants were blocked by counter-demonstrators, while others were stopped by the police. Police officers were insulted by right-wing demonstrators as “traitors of the people”.

A police spokesman said there were also “violent clients who also sought confrontation”. However, there were only minor clashes. The spokesman estimated the number of participants at a “middle four-digit range” on the right and left side – i.e. a few thousand each. He did not specify the number more precisely. At around 9:30 p.m., the police declared meetings at an end. The participants left.

While supporters of the Free Saxons urged the left to protest together, they distanced themselves sharply. Left boss Schirdewan spoke of “right-wing crackpots”. But don’t let the right to protest be taken away from you. “A hot autumn against the social coldness of the federal government is necessary,” said Schirdewan and announced further protests for the next few days. Regarding the latest plans of the traffic light coalition, he said: “That’s a relief fake.”

Leipzig Left Party member of the Bundestag Sören Pellmann said that Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine had contributed to the situation, “but many of the problems are self-made by the federal government.” With pressure from the streets, one must now “mitigate this calamity”. Among other things, he called a stop on the gas levy, a legal cap on gas and electricity prices and a suspension of VAT on staple foods as demands.

Pellmann was criticized for speaking of “Monday demonstrations” – a term from the time of the peaceful revolution in the GDR, which right-wing groups have now also appropriated. Pellmann told the dpa that the left “can’t take weekdays away from the right”. You have the task of directing protest in democratic channels.

The demarcation is not only difficult because right-wingers are trying to get involved in the protest campaign of the left. Some slogans from the right and left are also similar. Like the Left, the AfD is mobilizing with the slogan “Hot Autumn”. AfD leader Tino Chrupalla speaks of an “economic war” by the federal government against Russia – a term also used by former Left Party leader Sahra Wagenknecht. The party leadership also distances itself from Wagenknecht’s positions.