On their way to the celebration, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and German President Joachim Gauck were insulted by supporters of the far-right PEGIDA movement, German media reported.
The protesters called the country’s leaders “traitors,” chanting slogans like “Merkel has to go” or “Merkel to Siberia, Putin to Berlin.”
Although, Monday was supposed to mark 26 years since the reunification of Germany, unity didn’t seem to be in sight on the day.
“Yesterday, it became clear to the world public what Merkel & Co. have achieved with their refugee policy,” journalist Guido Grandt wrote.
According to him, the German leaders not only caused fear among the population, “but also rage and indignation.”
“At least since yesterday, politicians of all parties have become aware of the fear which is present in the country they are governing,” the journalist wrote.
Europe and, in particular, Germany has been struggling to find a solution to the massive refugee crisis, with hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing conflict-torn countries in the Middle East and North Africa in order to reach stable and wealthy European countries. In 2015, Germany alone hosted over one million migrants on its territory.
Merkel has been repeatedly criticized for her open-door policy toward refugees. The most severe criticism came from PEGIDA supporters who have marched through Dresden every Monday for close to two years to protest against the perceived “Islamization” of Europe.