Germany’s far right seek revolution in farmers’ protests

 Far-right groups have discussed toppling the German government as they seek to harness the anger of ongoing farmer protests over subsidy cuts.

A protest took place in Berlin on Monday amid fears extremists are infiltrating the agricultural movement.

Our team Germany has been working with BBC Verify to build up a picture both online and on the ground.

While the far right is piggyback­ing on the row, a “Germany first” narrative appears to be gaining wider traction.

As farmers blockade roads over planned subsidy cuts, there have been numerous reports of neo-Nazi or monarchist groups turning up at rallies.

Telegram channels reveal fervent posts about hopes of an emerging mass resistance that could help “dismantle” the government.

Small, fringe far-right groups such as the Free Saxons, The Third Way and The Homeland, have a very varied number of online followers.

But Chancellor Olaf Scholz warned this weekend that extrem­ists were using social media to “poison” democratic debate as he described any talk of uprisings as dangerous “nonsense”.

A BBC team has been to five demonstrations in the past week and monitored several more.

While many farmers and Ger­many’s main agricultural union are eager to distance themselves from extremism, far-right imagery continues to appear.

In the eastern city of Cott­bus, we saw a man being sent away from an official protest for allegedly wearing a symbol of the Reichsbürger; a disparate far right movement that rejects the modern German state.

A senior organiser of the Cottbus demo told the BBC they learned later that known far-right figures had remained within the hundreds-strong crowd, which was made up of a cross-section of people well beyond the farming community.

There are also examples of a flag, known as the Landvolkbe­wegung, linked to an antisemitic agricultural movement from the 1920s.

The vast majority of banners we saw do not carry overt far-right messaging but instead centre on anger at the treatment of farmers. —BBC