European migrant crisis leads to protests


Associated Press

PARIS

Left-wing European leaders tried to forge a common front Saturday in the continent’s migrant crisis while right-wing and extreme-right groups protested current policies toward the waves of people fleeing war and poverty.

The meetings and demonstrations came as thousands of migrants have massed in muddy camps in the Greek border town of Idomeni after countries across the Balkans closed their borders.

Europe’s migrant crisis is forming the backdrop for key elections in three German states today. The Alternative for Germany party, or AfD, is expected to make gains amid unease over Chancellor Angela Merkel’s welcome last year for a large number of refugees. However, German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said Saturday that gains for the nationalist party won’t change his government’s stance.

But in Berlin, about 2,000 right-wing demonstrators carrying German flags chanted “Merkel must go!” and “We are the people!” in a protest Saturday, accompanied by a heavy police escort.

Earlier Saturday in northern France, extreme right-wing youths torched tires and blocked migrants from roads in the port of Calais, leading to several arrests. And in Sweden, police said two fires overnight damaged planned shelters for unaccompanied minor migrants.

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